Court Rules Florida Department of Environmental Protection Took Property of Smolker Bartlett Client Without Just Compensation

A Florida trial court recently found that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) took property of a Smolker Bartlett client without just compensation, as reported earlier. The Circuit Court of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit has now entered its written order in the case [order], finding an as-applied regulatory taking under Article X, Section 6 of the Florida Constitution. In the case, the Firm’s client invested in oceanfront property in order to construct seventeen townhomes. The client was denied a Coastal Construction Control Line (CCCL) permit when FDEP changed its permitting policies mid-stream.

The Court found that FDEP was legally authorized to refuse to issue a CCCL permit and to change its related regulatory policies. However, FDEP’s policy change interfered with the property owner’s “distinct and reasonable expectation in the development, use and sale at a profit” of the property, which “caused [the property owner] to lost its distinct investment-backed expectations” in the property. FDEP and the State of Florida must now compensate the Firm's client for the “serious economic harm” that it suffered because of this unlawful taking without compensation.

Ethan Loeb, David Smolker, and Jon Tasso obtained this favorable ruling for the Firm’s client. The attorneys at Smolker, Bartlett, Schlosser, Loeb & Hinds, P.A. have a long track record in inverse condemnation and property rights practice. Our attorneys also serve a broad range of clients in closely related areas of law, such as eminent domain, public entities, complex commercial litigation, environmental law, land use, and real estate. The Firm’s office is located in Suite 200, 500 East Kennedy Boulevard in downtown Tampa (813-223-3888).