Monterey v. Del Monte Dunes at Monterey, Ltd., 526 U.S. 687 (1999)

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certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the ninth circuit

No. 97-1235. Argued October 7, 1998—Decided May 24, 1999

After petitioner city imposed more rigorous demands each of the five times it rejected applications to develop a parcel of land owned by respondent Del Monte Dunes and its predecessor in interest, Del Monte Dunes brought this suit under 42 U. S. C. 1983. The District Court submitted the case to the jury on Del Monte Dunes' theory that the city effected a regulatory taking or otherwise injured the property by unlawful acts, without paying compensation or providing an adequate postdeprivation remedy for the loss. The court instructed the jury to find for Del Monte Dunes if it found either that Del Monte Dunes had been denied all economically viable use of its property or that the city's decision to reject the final development proposal did not substantially advance a legitimate public purpose. The jury found for Del Monte Dunes. In affirming, the Ninth Circuit ruled, inter alia, that the District Court did not err in allowing Del Monte Dunes' takings claim to be tried to a jury, because Del Monte Dunes had a right to a jury trial under 1983; that whether Del Monte Dunes had been denied all economically viable use of the property and whether the city's denial of the final proposal substantially advanced legitimate public interests were, on the facts of this case, questions suitable for the jury; and that the jury reasonably could have decided each of these questions in Del Monte Dunes' favor.

Held: The judgment is affirmed.

95 F. 3d 1422, affirmed.

Justice Kennedy delivered the opinion of the Court, except as to Part IV-A-2, concluding that:

1. The Ninth Circuit's discussion of the rough-proportionality standard of Dolan v. City of Tigard, 512 U. S. 374, 391, is irrelevant to this Court's disposition of the case. Although this Court believes the Dolan standard is inapposite to a case such as this one, the jury instructions did not mention proportionality, let alone require the jury to find for Del Monte Dunes unless the city's actions were roughly proportional to its asserted interests. The rough-proportionality discussion, furthermore, was unnecessary to sustain the jury's verdict, given the Ninth Circuit's holding that Del Monte Dunes had proffered evidence sufficient to rebut


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