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First English Evangelical Lutheran Church of Glendale v. County of Los Angeles

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Citation. 22 Ill.482 U.S. 304, 107 S. Ct. 2378, 96 L. Ed. 2d 250, 26 ERC 1001 (1987)

Brief Fact Summary. The First Evangelical Lutheran Church of Glendale (Appellant) bought, in 1957, 21 acres of land in a canyon along the banks of Mill Creek in the Angeles National Forest. Appellant constructed a dining hall, two bunkhouses, a caretaker’s lodge, an outdoor chapel, and a footbridge across the creek on the land, known as Lutherglen. In July of 1977, a fire destroyed the acreage above the canyon and a flood then wiped out Lutherglen. In response, the County of Los Angeles (Appellee) issued an ordinance which prohibited the reconstruction of any buildings in the canyon.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. Where the government’s activities have already effectuated a taking of all use of property, no subsequent action by the government can relieve it of the duty to provide compensation for the period during which the taking was effective.


Facts. Appellant bought, in 1957, 21 acres of land in a canyon along the banks of Mill Creek in the Angeles National Forest and constructed a dining hall, two bunkhouses, a caretaker’s lodge, an outdoor chapel, and a footbridge across the creek. It was known as “Lutherglen,” and operated as a camp for retreats and for handicapped children. In July of 1977, a fire destroyed the acreage above the canyon and as a result of the fire a flood wiped out Lutherglen. In response, the Appellee issued an ordinance, which prohibited the reconstruction of any buildings in the canyon. The Appellant claimed that this prohibition amounted to a taking within the meaning of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. About one month after the ordinance was passed, the Appellant filed a complaint alleging that the ordinance denied it the use of Lutherglen and sought damages for the deprivation. The allegation was struck and affirmed by the Court of Appeals of California on the assumption tha
t the complaint sought damages for the unconstitutional taking without just compensation. Relying on California law, the court held that the remedy for a taking is limited to non-monetary relief and denied damages since Appellant’s sought damages in the complaint.

Issue. What is the proper form of compensation for a taking?
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