We don't usually post trial court decisions. They are, obviously, subject to change by an appellate court, and because many are interlocutory, alteration by the rendering court iself.
But for this order from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, we'll make an exception. It's a land use case (it's right there in the first sentence, "This is a land use case."), in which the plaintiffs are challenging two ordinances adopted by the County. The first prohibited obstruction of the beach with ropes, chains, signs, or fences. The second prohibited anyone from interfering with public use of dry sand beach areas. Under Florida law, the dry sand portion of the beach is privately owned.
As you might expect, because the effect of the ordinance was to invite the public to use private property (as Laurence Tribe wrote in his treatise on Constitutional Law when discussing Kaiser Aetna v. United States, 444 U.S. 164 (1979), this is the government telling the public "come on in, the water's fine"), this resulted in a lawsuit. The plaintiffs raised a facial takings challenge in federal court, and sought a preliminary injunction. In response, the County filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that Williamson County rendered the takings claim premature.
The District Court's opinion rejecting the County's motion to dismiss contains a good summary of the nature of takings claims, especially facial" versus "as applied" challenges:
Ordinarily, a takings claim is raised as an “as-applied” challenge. An as-applied claim considers “the particular impact of government action on a specific piece of property” and “requires the payment of just compensation.” Keystone Bituminous Coal Ass’n v. DeBenedictis, 480 U.S. 470, 494 (1987). This type of as-applied challenge can only be brought after the plaintiff has availed himself of all available state procedures for seeking just compensation and been denied. See Williamson Cty., 473 U.S. at 195 (“Williamson County ripeness doctrine”). A plaintiff may also raise a facial takings challenge to “the mere enactment” of a statute or regulation when it constitutes a taking. Id. Facial challenges to a statute or regulation have been allowed both where the regulation denies all economically viable use of land, and also where the regulation has authorized a physical taking. See Hodel v. Va. Surface Mining & Reclamation, 452 U.S. 264, 295 (1981) (quoting Agins v. City of Tiburon, 447 U.S. 255, 260 (1980) (citing Penn Central, 438 U.S. at 138 n.36)); Gulf Power Co. v. United States, 187 F.3d 1324, 1331 (11th Cir. 1999); see also Keystone Bituminous, 480 U.S. at 495 (quoting Hodel); Lucas, 505 U.S. at 1016 n.6 (quoting Hodel). Because the facial takings challenge is a narrow one, plaintiffs “face an uphill battle in making a facial attack.” Hodel, 452 U.S. at 295.
Slip op. at 6-7. Here, the Goodwins claim that the mere enactment of the ordinance is a regulatory taking. The court rejected the County's argument that the Goodwins didn't adequately plead the claim (Iqbal doesn't require much, just a plausible claim), and that they improperly raised a "substantially advance" theory (which was rejected as a takings claim in Lingle). The court concluded that "facial takings claims can still be valid after Lingle." Slip op. at 11.
The court also rejected the County's Williamson challenge to the claim, concluding that the Goodwins didn't need to have first sought compensation from the Florida courts before coming to federal court because the "doctrine does not apply to a facial takings claim because a facial challenge is 'generally ripe the moment the challenged regulation or ordinance is passed.'" Slip op. at 11 (citing Suitum v. Tahoe Reg’l Planning Agency, 520 U.S. 725, 736 n.10 (1997); Lucas, 505 U.S. at 1013 n.4 (“Facial challenges are ripe when the [ordinance] is passed.”)).
Finally, the court concluded that a preliminary injunction is a valid remedy to seek for a facial takings claim. Although an as-applied takings claim is one seeking compensation, "facial takings challenges are a horse of a different color, because the relief requested is declaratory and injunctive, rather than just compensation." Slip op. at 13.
A judge who understands the concepts and applies them correctly - hallelujah!