Both United States and California Supreme Courts Refuse to Hear California Beach Taking Case
We have been following Martin’s Beach I, LLC v. Surfrider Foundation (Docket No. 17-119), a California case involving the closure of a beach in Northern California. In Martin’s Beach, a billionaire purchased an 89-acre property known as Martin’s Beach. The property included his access to a beach, which had been previously used by the public for a nominal fee. After his purchase, the owner closed the beach and hired security guards to prevent the public from accessing or using the property to access the beach.
The owner’s actions caused a number of lawsuits to be filed regarding whether the public had a right to access Martin’s Beach. Surfrider Foundation argued that Plaintiff should have obtained a coastal development permit before reducing the public’s access to the ocean. They argued that there was change of the “intensity of the use” of the coastline.
The trial court held that the owner may not restrict the public’s access unless a permit is obtained. A California appellate court affirmed, holding that requiring the owner to allow public access was not an unconstitutional “taking” of his property under the Fifth Amendment.
The owner appealed to the California Supreme Court, but the court declined to hear the case. The owner then appealed to the United States Supreme Court which, likewise, declined to hear the appeal.
With appeals now exhausted, it appears that access will be provided to the public without compensation to the owner. It will be interesting to see if the owner now applies for a permit.
Shannon B. Jones, Partner firstname.lastname@example.org