The Owners’ Counsel of America will present the 2014 Crystal Eagle to Coy Koontz, Jr., on January 25, 2014 at ALI-CLE conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Crystal Eagle award is given annually to an individual who has made a substantial contribution toward protecting the civil right of private property ownership.
Coy Koontz was the lead plaintiff in Koontz v. St. John’s River Water Management District, an extraction case decided by the Supreme Court in June of this year. When the government commands the relinquishment of funds linked to a specifically identifiable property interest such as a bank account or parcel of real estate, a “per se” (takings) approach is the proper mode of analysis under Supreme Court precedent.
A brief overview of the case may be helpful. Because the property at issue in the case was wetlands (and thus, regulated land), Mr. Koontz needed a permit in order to develop it. He was told his development permit would be denied unless he agreed to one of two things; either (1) scale back the planned development and give the district a large conservation easement, or (2) hire contractors to make improvements to separate land owned by the district. Mr. Koontz refused to be blackmailed by these unrelated extractions and brought suit. The legal battle lasted nearly 20 years, culminating with a 5-4 victory in the U.S. Supreme Court. The decision can be read here.
Owners’ Counsel is the only organization comprised of skilled eminent domain attorneys representing private owners that provides property owners nationwide with a single source for locating an attorney who can assist the owner through every stage of property condemnation- from pre-condemnation planning up through appeal. Owners’ Counsel of America is committed to further advancing, preserving, and defending the rights of private property owners, large and small, locally and nationally. Only one attorney from each state is invited to be a part of the OCA. Michael Rikon is the Owners’ Counsel member for New York state.
OCA has its annual meeting in conjunction with the annual ALI-CLE eminent domain seminar. This year’s seminar will be held January 23-25, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. More information and a link to register is available by clicking here.