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August 5, 2008

State eminent domain suit filed, raises new state claim; hearing in January?

Atlantic Yards Report

Norman Oder parses through the NY State eminent domain petition filed yesterday by property owners fighting Bruce Ratner's Prospect Heights land grab.

As expected, the Atlantic Yards eminent domain case has taken a last-ditch trip to state court and, though some of the arguments have already been dismissed in the (likely) more hospitable federal court system, the case filed Friday adds a novel claim, based on grounds untested in court, which might make the argument interesting.

Thus, it looks like the Atlantic Yards legal battle will not be resolved until 2009, despite developer Bruce Ratner’s stated claim--which itself represents a slowdown in the timetable--that groundbreaking would begin in January. (Two other lawsuits are pending, as well as questions over project financing.)

Nine plaintiffs--two fewer than in the recent Supreme Court eminent domain appeal and five fewer than the total plaintiffs in the federal case--have filed suit against the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), the only potential defendant under the state Eminent Domain Procedure Law (EDPL). In the federal case, which was dismissed at the trial and appellate court levels and refused a hearing by the U.S. Supreme Court, city and state officials were named as defendants, along with developer Forest City Ratner.

Read the rest of the article to find out which original plaintiffs have settled with Ratner, what new evidence is being presented and the latest legal argument that claims that Ratner's land grab violates the State's own constitution.

Posted by lumi at August 5, 2008 4:23 AM