Jerry McGuire v. U.S.: You Had Me at 'Regulatory Taking' - Property Law - Federal Circuit
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Jerry McGuire v. U.S.: You Had Me at 'Regulatory Taking'

Occasionally, we get excited when perusing federal appeals because one of the litigants has a famous name. That excitement has manifested itself in posts about Joe the Plumber and David Bowie. (Not that David Bowie.)

So you can imagine our delight upon discovering a Federal Circuit appellant named Jerry McGuire. Even if his surname was spelled differently than the titular movie character.

Jerry McGuire leased a plot of farmland in Arizona from the Colorado River Indian Tribes (CRIT) with the approval of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). He planned to raise alfalfa on the land. McGuire's alfalfa dreams were dashed thanks to a BIA-owned bridge.

A BIA canal divided the leased property into two sections. The two sections were connected by a bridge inside a right-of-way owned by the BIA.

The bridge enabled McGuire to cross the canal, but -- approximately three years into the lease -- the BIA informed McGuire that the bridge would be removed due to safety concerns. McGuire had discussions with BIA officials about a replacement bridge, but he never filed a formal permit application. His failure to file the application ruined his federal claim for relief.

McGuire filed a Fifth Amendment regulatory takings claim after the BIA removed a bridge that he used to access portions of the leased property. According to his claim, the BIA's alleged refusal to authorize replacement of the bridge constituted a taking of his property rights.

The Court of Federal Claims denied McGuire's claim, and he appealed. The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the Claims Court, finding that McGuire's regulatory takings claim never ripened because he never filed a permit application. Even if McGuire's claim had ripened, he didn't have a cognizable property interest under the two-part Acceptance Insurance Companies test.

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