Owners not Protected from Government Changing Rules
Thursday, August 19, 2004
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has reminded us that owners are not protected against adverse impacts when government changes the rules. In the instant case, a fishing vessel owner possessed a federal permit to catch fish in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Congress then amended the law and the National Marine Fisheries Service was unable to renew the permit, making the fishing vessel unprofitable. The owner sued, alleging an unconstitutional taking of his right to the permit. The court held that, by reason of the government’s high degree of control over commercial dealings, the owner must be aware of the possibility that new regulations may adversely impact the value of the property.