Brown v. Legal Foundation of Wash., 538 U.S. 216, 3 (2003)

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458 U. S. 419, which was a physical taking subject to per se rules. The Court therefore assumes that petitioners retained the beneficial ownership of at least a portion of their escrow deposits until the funds were disbursed at closings, that those funds generated interest in the IOLTA accounts, and that their interest was taken for a public use when it was turned over to the Foundation. This does not end the inquiry, however, for the Court must now determine whether any "just compensation" is due. Pp. 233-235.

2. Because "just compensation" is measured by the owner's pecuniary loss—which is zero whenever the Washington law is obeyed—there has been no violation of the Just Compensation Clause. Pp. 235-241.

(a) This Court's consistent and unambiguous holdings support the conclusion that the "just compensation" required by the Fifth Amendment is measured by the property owner's loss rather than the govern-ment's gain. E. g., Boston Chamber of Commerce v. Boston, 217 U. S. 189, 195. Applying the teachings of such cases to the question here, it is clear that neither petitioner is entitled to any compensation for the nonpecuniary consequences of the taking of the interest on his deposited funds, and that any pecuniary compensation must be measured by his net losses rather than the value of the public's gain. Thus, if petitioners' net loss was zero, the compensation that is due is also zero. Pp. 235-237.

(b) Although lawyers and LPOs may occasionally deposit client funds in an IOLTA account when those funds could have produced net interest for their clients, it does not follow that there is a need for further hearings to determine whether petitioners are entitled to compensation from respondents. The Washington Supreme Court's Rules unambiguously require lawyers and LPOs to deposit client funds in non-IOLTA accounts whenever those funds could generate net earnings for the client. If petitioners' money could have generated net income, the LPOs violated the court's Rules, and any net loss was the consequence of the LPOs' incorrect private decisions rather than state action. Such mistakes may give petitioners a valid claim against the LPOs, but would provide no support for a compensation claim against the State or respondents. Because Washington's IOLTA program mandates a nonIOLTA account when net interest can be generated for the client, the compensation due petitioners for any taking of their property would be nil, and there was therefore no constitutional violation when they were not compensated. Pp. 237-240.

271 F. 3d 835, affirmed.

Stevens, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which O'Connor, Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer, JJ., joined. Scalia, J., filed a dissent-

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