Loretta v. Telepromoter Manhattan CATV Case Brief

Summary of Loretta v. Telepromoter Manhattan CATV, S. Ct 458 US 419 [1982]

Relevant Facts: ANT Loretto purchased a 5 story apt bldg in NY. The previous owner had granted Ees, CATV permission to install a cable on the bldg and the exclusive privilege of furnishing cable to the tenants. Ant did not discover the cable until after she purchased the bldg. NY passed a law where LL can’t interfere w/ the installation of cable upon property or demand an unreasonable payment from the Ts or CATV.

Legal Issue(s): Whether the NY statute authorizing a permanent physical occupation of Loretto’s property works as a taking of Loretto’s property and therefor subject to compensation?

Court’s Holding: Yes

Procedure: Tr ct Summary for EE; ANT appealed App Div Affirmed; Ct of App upheld statute as legitimate public purpose, Affirmed; S. Ct Reversed and Remanded.

Law or Rule(s):The 5th Amendment, via 14th prohibits the taking of private property for public uses without compensation.

Court Rationale: NY statute provides that a LL must permit a CATV co. to install its cable facilities upon his property and may not demand from the company in excess of the amount determined by a State Commission to be reasonable. A permanent physical occupation authorized by government is a “taking” without regard to the public interest that it may serve. When physical intrusion by government reaches the extreme form of a permanent physical occupation, a Fifth Amendment taking has occurred and, in such a case the character of government action not only is an important factor in resolving whether the action works a taking but is determinative.

When the Govt permanently occupies physical property it effectively destroys the right to possess, use, and dispose of it. Once the fact of occupation of property is shown a court should consider the extent of the occupation as one relevant factor in determining the compensation due and for that reason there is less need to consider the extent of occupation in determining whether there is a compensable taking in the first instance. So long as regulations do not require LL to suffer the physical occupation of a portion of property by a 3rd party, they will be analyzed under the multi factor inquiry.

Plaintiff’s Argument: The placement of the CATV components which was authorized by statute was a trespass and a taking w/o compensation by virtue of physical occupation.

Defendant’s Argument: The law only applies to bldgs used as rental property; Application of the physical occupation rule will have dire consequences for the govt’s power to adjust LL/T relationships.

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