In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court overruled longstanding precedent in Williamson County Regional Planning Comm’n v. Hamilton Bank, 473 U.S. 172 (1985), that required property owners to pursue their claims against government in state court before they could bring a federal lawsuit alleging a “taking” in violation of the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. See Knick v. Township of Scott (USSCT, June 21, 2019). The Williamson County ripeness doctrine allowed government bodies to defend these property and land use cases in state court, where state court remedies were available. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Knick overruling Williamson County’s “state-litigation” requirement will certainly affect local governments across the country, including Illinois, as litigants can now initiate their land use and property claims in federal court in a civil rights 1983 action.
We will report on this case in more detail next week.