Loretto v. Teleprompter Manhattan CATV Corp. et al.

Supreme Court of the United States, 1982.

458 U.S. 419, 102 S.Ct. 3164, 73 L.Ed.2d 868.

Johnson, pp. 815-820


Facts: The state of New York required landowners to allow the installation of cable on their property.  The State Commission on Cable Television decided that landlords only needed to be compensated $1 for allowing cable to be run in their buildings.  The landlords sued to have the cable installation declared a “taking” that must be compensated.  The Court of Appeals of New York found for the state, and the landlords appealed to the United States Supreme Court.


Issue: Is a “minor but permanent physical occupation” of property authorized by the government a “taking”?


Rule: SORTA NEW RULE!  The permanent physical occupation of another’s property, authorized by the government, is a taking.


Analysis: The majority argues for a bright-line rule that is strongly protective of property rights.  The dissent claims that such inflexible, “per se” rules are uncalled for and that a multifactor balancing test is more appropriate.  The dissent fears a “slippery slope” of litigation on the issue.


Conclusion: The Court of Appeals of New York is reversed and the case is remanded.


Back to The “Takings” Question

Back to Casebook Notes