Atlanta, GA/Louisiana (March 14, 2017): Southeastern Legal Foundation, along with National Federation of Small Business Legal Center, filed an amicus brief supporting a private company fighting to keep the industrial port facility that its owners spent decades building and growing into a successful business from government takeover and expropriation. Violet Dock Port’s owners started with just a 1-mile of waterfront property. Continuous reinvestment and hard work grew the port facility into a 75-acre port that includes five industrial docks, at least two of which are used by the U.S. Navy to keep two ships docket and ready for takeoff at a moment’s notice.
St. Bernard Parish recognized how profitable the privately-owned port facility had become and wanting those profits and government contracts for itself, took the 75 acres. It was able to do so because under Louisiana law, a government can take property by simply depositing what it believes is “just compensation” in an account with the court and filing a petition to expropriate. The court will then hold a trial on the taking and compensation. The backwards procedure provides the state and local governments with vast power.
Violet Dock Port fought the unconstitutional takings, but to no avail. The trial court and court of appeals ignored the strong evidence in the record supporting the company’s argument that the government took the property solely to limit competition and takeover not only the land, but the business – clients, contracts, and all. In its amicus brief, Southeastern Legal Foundation urges the Louisiana Supreme Court grant Violet Dock Port’s request to hear the case and return the property – land and company – back to Violet Dock Port.
Click here for SLF amicus brief, March 14, 2017