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March 29, 2007

Procedural arguments return as eminent domain case hearing approaches

Atlantic Yards Report sets the stage for tomorrow's hearing on the federal eminent domain suit:

The Atlantic Yards eminent domain case gets another day in federal court Friday, as both the plaintiffs and the defendants will argue to U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis that the report and recommendations made last month by U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert M. Levy were incorrect.

Remember, Levy recommended that the case be dismissed and more properly filed in state court. However, he did so based on only one argument by the defense; he agreed with two other arguments by the plaintiffs, 13 property owners and tenants organized by Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB), that the case should remain in federal court.

Thus, while the DDDB plaintiffs are asking Garaufis to overturn Levy’s one argument for dismissal, the defendants—the city, the Empire State Development Corporation, and developer Forest City Ratner—are not only backing Levy’s dismissal argument, but contending that he was incorrect in not dismissing the case on other grounds.

It’s not automatic that a federal judge will hold a hearing on the responses to a magistrate’s recommendations; the judge could simply rely on legal briefs. But the decision to hold a hearing seems to indicate a recognition of the complexity of the legal arguments and even the importance of the case.

Click here to read details about the most contentious and delicate legal arguments, including an explanation of the Burford precedent.

Posted by lumi at March 29, 2007 9:20 AM