Kirby Forest Industries, Inc. v. United States

PETITIONER: Kirby Forest Industries, Inc.
RESPONDENT: United States
LOCATION: Police Car

DOCKET NO.: 82-1994
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1981-1986)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

CITATION: 467 US 1 (1984)
ARGUED: Feb 22, 1984
DECIDED: May 21, 1984

Harriet S. Shapiro - on behalf of the respondent
Joe G. Roady - on behalf of the Petitioner

Facts of the case


Media for Kirby Forest Industries, Inc. v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - February 22, 1984 in Kirby Forest Industries, Inc. v. United States

Warren E. Burger:

We will hear arguments next in Kirby Forest Industries against the United States.

Mr. Roady, I think you may proceed when you are ready.

Joe G. Roady:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court, this is a Fifth Amendment taking in just compensation case.

It arose under an exercise of the power of imminent domain by the United States under Title 40, Section 257 of the United States Code.

That is the so-called straight condemnation statute.

The purpose of the condemnation was to preserve a wilderness area in Fast Texas in the Big Thicket Forest area of that region of the state.

Authority for that particular condemnation was given by Congress in Title 16, Section 698 of the United States Code.

We want to emphasize at the outset the importance of the purpose of this particular condemnation to the outcome of this case.

The purpose was to preserve a wilderness in its pristine condition.

That is a purpose which is accomplished by affecting a non-use, a non-use for economic purposes, a non-use for any purpose inconsistent with the wilderness preservation, and in this respect we would suggest to the Court that the purpose was accomplished at the time that the condemnation was filed.

William H. Rehnquist:

Mr. Roady--

Joe G. Roady:

Yes, sir.

William H. Rehnquist:

--was it accomplished by virtue of the government exercising dominion over the property from the time you state?

Joe G. Roady:

There were no acts of physical possession, Your Honor.

What we... Excuse me.

Warren E. Burger:

Is there... Excuse me.

Go ahead.

Finish your answer.

Joe G. Roady:

There were no acts of physical possession.

What we are submitting to this Court is that consistent with the takings analysis which this Court has made in the police power cases, the burdens which were placed upon the ownership interests in this property were such that a taking occurred prior to the time of the filing of the award and condemnation.


Warren E. Burger:

When the action was taken by the government, could you sell the property to me or to your colleague on the other side of the table?

Joe G. Roady:

As a legal matter, Your Honor, we could sell the property, but it would have to be subject to the condemnation.

As a practical matter--

Warren E. Burger:

As a practical economic matter--

Joe G. Roady:

--you could not, and that is--

Warren E. Burger:

--It would be unlikely that you could find a buyer who would take that chance.

Joe G. Roady:

--Not only unlikely, Your Honor.

We think it would be a practical and economic impossibility.

Warren E. Burger:

Do you think you could borrow money at the bank on it?