Williamson County; and England Reservations

Anyone who has filed a Section 1983 lawsuit alleging a takings, has felt the hammer of Williamson County Regional Planning Commission v. Hamilton Bank of Johnson City, 473 U.S. 172 (1985).  Land use cases have an exhaustion requirement.  For an outstanding summary of Williamson issues, check out Los Altos El Granada v. Capitola, 07-1688 (9th Cir. Oct. 7, 2009) (here), which begins:

The complicated procedural history of this case reveals the sisyphean task that the Supreme Court’s decision in Williamson County Regional Planning Commission v. Hamilton Bank of Johnson City, 473 U.S. 172 (1985), has created for plaintiffs who seek to have their federal takings claims adjudicated in federal court. After a full complement of administrative appeals, three California Superior Court decisions, a California Court of Appeal decision, three federal district court decisions, and one prior federal appellate court decision, the plaintiff in this case assumed that it had properly exhausted its state law causes of action in state court and would be entitled to present its unadjudicated federal claims in federal court. Yet, the district court decided that in the process of exhausting its state law causes of action the plaintiff had created a bar to any subsequent assertion of federal claims in federal court.

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