No Taking When Police Bulldozed A Store

Tuesday, November 13, 2018 2:24 am
November 2018 - Volume 46 Number 11

No taking occurs when police destroy an innocent party’s private property while responding to an emergency.

Facts: Police serving the City of Spartanburg, South Carolina chased an armed man into a convenience store, where he took a hostage. Negotiations failed, as did attempts to induce surrender using tear gas and pepper spray. After twelve hours, the police used a bulldozer to enter the building to rescue the hostage. Bulldozing the store severely damaged it, and the City later ordered that it be torn down.

The store’s owners, including Carolina Convenience Stores, Inc., sued the City for inverse condemnation. The owners alleged that the City had taken private property for public use when it destroyed their store to rescue a hostage. The owners sought just compensation for the taking. The trial court granted summary judgment to the City, and the appellate court affirmed. The lower courts reasoned that a taki[..]