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U.S. Supreme Court rules on Florida real estate dispute

Serving Families Throughout Fort Walton Beach

A real estate dispute can arise over many different issues. However, the most heated real estate dispute of all is often one between a landowner and the government. Whether the disagreement is because of an easement, imminent domain or the refusal of a municipality to issue permits, the dispute can go on for years before a resolution is found. This was exactly the case for a Florida man whose family finally saw an end to a real estate dispute that had been going for nearly 20 years.

Almost 20 years ago, one Florida man requested permission to develop 3.7 acres of his property that was classified as wetlands. The local water management district, in response to his request, proposed that he improve wetlands on another site in exchange for permission to develop his own. In doing so, the district set off a dispute that would end up being settled, years later, by the U.S Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court's late June ruling sets limits to keep the government from using its power to force land owners seeking permits to do something above and beyond their due in exchange for a permit. The ruling should stop municipalities from requesting excessive terms that amount to what attorneys labeled "government extortion". The decision, however, was not applauded by everyone. One judge, who voted against the measure, worries that the consequences of the decision may be heavy.

Even though not everyone is pleased by the Supreme Court's decision concerning the Florida case, it does bring the issue nearly to a close for the family of the Florida landowner. Now they face a return to Florida courts for a decision to be made concerning the awarding of damages. Regardless of the outcome of the next court date for the family, they can rest easy knowing that their determination led to a decision that will help other Florida landowners involved in a real estate dispute with the government.

Source:, "Supreme Court sides with Florida landowner in permit fight," Jim Saunders, June 25, 2013

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