Agins v. City of Tiburon

PETITIONER: Agins
RESPONDENT: City of Tiburon
LOCATION: U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division

DOCKET NO.: 79-602
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: Supreme Court of California

CITATION: 447 US 255 (1980)
ARGUED: Apr 15, 1980
DECIDED: Jun 10, 1980

ADVOCATES:
E. Clement Shute, Jr. - for appellee
Gideon Kanner - for appellants

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Agins v. City of Tiburon

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 15, 1980 in Agins v. City of Tiburon

Warren E. Burger:

We'll hear arguments first this morning in Agins against City of Tiburon.

Mr. Kanner, you may proceed whenever you are ready.

Gideon Kanner:

Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the Court.

Particularly, in view of the controversy that erupted in the briefing, it seems appropriate to emphasize some of the facts in this case.

This case --

Warren E. Burger:

You -- you observed more the volume of the briefing than the controversy, Mr. Kanner?

Gideon Kanner:

The amici have indeed been prolific, Your Honor.

We have here a combination of factors.

There is an impact of -- a twofold impact on the subject property.

We have first of all, the regulatory impact, the intrusive regulation which in fact appellants contend deprives the subject property of all use and value in the marketplace.

The second factor which is not in our view received the proper amount of attention from the appellee's side, is that we have here a fairly extensive long standing and overt accusatory activities by the city.

And there's a long standing official announcements and commitments to acquisition of this property and long standing studies by experts indicating that this property was to be a -- an indispensable part of the city's open space.

William H. Rehnquist:

Mr. Kanner, let me ask you a -- a question about the procedural posture of the case, because of my lack of familiarity with California law.

As I understand it, the -- your clients brought an action in the Superior Court of Marin County and a demurrer one -- a demurrer to one count was sustained and demurrers to another was overruled.

Gideon Kanner:

Not quite, Your Honor.

The -- the second count was also sustained, but with leave to amend.

William H. Rehnquist:

You wouldn't live with -- with leave.

Gideon Kanner:

Yes, that was the declaratory relief count and the plaintiffs then declined to amend instead on that -- on that part of the pleading.

William H. Rehnquist:

Well -- well, what I'm puzzled about is, do we have any way of knowing whether ultimately, your client would be allowed to build one house per acre on this 5-acre tract or only one house on the entire 5-acre tract?

Gideon Kanner:

There is no way of knowing that and that is --

Warren E. Burger:

There -- there was a way, wasn't there?

Gideon Kanner:

I beg your pardon?

Warren E. Burger:

There was a way, wasn't there, the administrative remedy?

Gideon Kanner:

Well, there was no administrative remedy on this ordinance, Your Honor.

There was at -- would have been, had Mr. Agins gone ahead and decided to build.

The point is that one owns property not necessarily to build.

He may wish to sell it.

He may wish to do something else with it.

The point is that the property, the allegation goes, has now been rendered unusable and worthless in the marketplace.

Who is going --