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Miller v. Schoene

    Citation. 276 U.S. 272, 48 S. Ct. 246, 72 L. Ed. 568, 1928 U.S.

    Brief Fact Summary. The Respondent, Schoene (Respondent), acting under Virginia state statute, cut down a number of red cedar trees in hopes of preventing the spread of disease to nearby apple orchards. The owners of the trees were not compensated, but allowed to keep the chopped wood for their use.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. Reduction in value of property does not equate to a taking.


    Facts. The Cedar Rust Act of Virginia allowed for the removal of infected red cedar trees from the property near orchards in an attempt to prevent the dissemination of plant disease. The statute did not provide any compensation to the property owners, but they were allowed to keep the wood to use as they chose.

    Issue. Does this regulation result in a taking?

    Held. No. When forced to choose, the state does not exceed its power by deciding upon the destruction of one class of property in order to save another, which in its opinion, is of greater value to the public.

    Discussion. There are 3 factors to consider when determining if a taking exists: (1) the economic impact of the regulation on the claimant; (2) the extent to which the regulation interferes with expectations and (3) the character of the governmental action. Here, the Supreme Court of the United States (Supreme Court) weighs each of these factors to reach its conclusion. This construct helps explain the differing result found in Pennsylvania Coal.

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