Appeal Filed in Federal Case Against Atlantic Yards: Brooklyn NY Eagle, 8/3/07

The plaintiffs in a federal case challenging the use of eminent domain to build Forest City Ratner Companies’ planned Atlantic Yards Project have filed an appeal in the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals.

The plaintiffs are property owners and rent-subsidized tenants located in the footprint of the planned 22-acre development project. They challenged the state’s right to forcibly take their property by eminent domain, saying it violates the Constitution. Both cases, Daniel Goldstein et. al v. George E. Pataki and Aaron Piller et. al v. George Pataki, et. al, named several state and city defendants along with the project developer.

Under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, “private property [shall not] be taken for public use, without just compensation.” Therefore, when eminent domain is used to take private property, it must be for a public use and just compensation must be paid to the owner.

In this case, the plaintiffs argued that the public use requirement was not met because the project’s primary purpose is to benefit FCRC — not to provide any public benefit.

Brooklyn District Judge Nicholus Garaufis rejected these arguments and dismissed the case earlier this summer, after finding that the project would have a public use.

Arguments in the appellate court are scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 9.

Brooklyn NY Eagle: http://www.brooklyneagle.com