San Diego Gas & Electric Company v. City of San Diego

RESPONDENT:San Diego Gas & Electric Co.
LOCATION:White House

DOCKET NO.: 79-678
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: State appellate court

CITATION: 450 US 621 (1981)
ARGUED: Dec 01, 1980
DECIDED: Mar 24, 1981

C. Alan Sumption – on behalf of the Appellees
Louis E. Goebel – on behalf of the Appellant

Facts of the case


Media for San Diego Gas & Electric Company v. City of San Diego

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument – December 01, 1980 in San Diego Gas & Electric Company v. City of San Diego

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement – March 24, 1981 in San Diego Gas & Electric Company v. City of San Diego

Warren E. Burger:

The judgment and opinion of the Court in San Diego Gas and Electric Company against San Diego will be announced by Justice Blackmun.

Harry A. Blackmun:

This case comes to us from the Court of Appeal of California, the San Diego gas and the Electric Company, a public utility owns his land in the City of San Diego.

This land lies near the Pacific Ocean and was purchased by the utility in 1996 as a possible cite for a Nuclear Power Plant to be constructed in the 1980s.

At that time, the property was zoned mostly for industrial or agricultural use.

The city, however, rezoned parts of it and established an open space plan that included this property and proposed that the city acquire to preserve it for parkland purposes.

The bond issue for that purpose however failed and the property has remained in the utility’s hand subject to the new zoning ordinance and the open space plan.

The Utility brought an action in California State Court alleging that the city had taken its property without just compensation.

It sought damages for what it called the inverse condemnation and also mandamus and declaratory relief, and then followed complex proceedings in the State Courts of California, culmination in a remand from the Supreme Court of that State and a holding by the intermediate State Court that the utility could not recover compensation through inverse condemnation.

We know that jurisdiction in the case to consider the question whether a state must provide a monetary remedy to a landowner whose property allegedly has been taken by a regulatory ordinance.

This question had been left open last term in the City of Tiburon case.

We conclude with some reluctance that again we lack jurisdiction in this case and must leave the issue undecided.

We reach this conclusion because the State Court of Appeal did not decide whether any remedy other than monetary compensation is available because it has not decided whether any taking in fact occurred.

Further proceedings in the trial court are remand — on remand are contemplated to resolve disputed factual issues.

There is such no final judgment as it is required under a federal statute 28 U.S.C. 1257 for review by this Court.

It appealed as therefore dismissed.

Mr. Justice Rhenquist, while joining the opinion, has filed a separate concurring opinion.

Mr. Justice Brennan has filed a dissenting opinion and has joined therein by Justices Stewart and Marshall, and Powell.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you Justice Blackmun.