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June 23, 2008

DDDB PRESS RELEASE: Supreme Court Denies Eminent Domain Petition From Owners & Tenants Facing Property Seizures for Atlantic Yards

11 Property Owners and Tenants Will Take Their Case to NY State Court To Challenge the Improper Use of Eminent Domain Under New York State Law

BROOKLYN, NY— The United States Supreme Court denied the petition to grant a hearing (cert petition) to eleven property owners and tenants who asked the court to hear their appeal on the Second Circuit Court’s dismissal of their challenge to the use of eminent domain for Forest City Ratner’s Atlantic Yards development proposal in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. The petition asked the Court to address the appropriate constitutional limits on the government’s power to seize private homes for the benefit of powerful real estate developers like Bruce Ratner.

The Court’s denial of the petition in Goldstein et al. v. Pataki et al. does not affirm or deny the plaintiffs’ arguments, nor is it the end of the legal road for the plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs, fighting to prevent the seizure of their homes and businesses for the benefit of Forest City Ratner, will now pursue their eminent domain challenge in state court under New York State law.

"We are, of course, disappointed that the Court declined our request to hear this important case. This is not, however, a ruling on the merits of our claims. Our claims remain sound. New York State law, and the state constitution, prohibit the government from taking private homes and businesses simply because a powerful developer demands it. Yet, that is what has happened. Recent events have revealed that the public, and the Public Authorities Control Board were sold a bill of goods by Ratner and the Empire State Development Corporation. We now know that Ratner’s project will cost the public much more than it will ever receive," said lead attorney Matthew Brinckerhoff of Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP. "Now we will turn to the state courts to vindicate our rights. We will soon file an action in New York state court under state law as we were expressly permitted to do by the rulings of the federal courts."

Besides the eleven plaintiffs on Goldstein et al. v. Pataki et al. there are approximately 30 other residents and business owners in the project’s footprint whose properties would be seized for Forest City Ratner’s benefit.

Ironically, today is the 3rd anniversary of the Supreme Court’s extremely controversial 5-4 decision in the eminent domain case Kelo v. The City of New London. The plaintiffs in the Brooklyn case did not seek to overturn Kelo, but rather utilize the majority and concurring opinions to make their case.

The petition and all lower court briefs and decisions in Goldstein et al v. Pataki et al can be found at: http://www.dddb.net/eminentdomain.

Posted by eric at June 23, 2008 10:33 AM