Sunday, February 13, 2011

Government Files Opening Brief in Hage v. US Appeal

After requesting two extensions from the US Court of Appeals DC Circuit, the Department of Justice has finally filed their opening brief in their appeal of the Hage v. United States takings case.

In June of 2008, the US Court of Federal Claims issued a landmark decision for property rights when they ruled in favor of deceased ranchers, Wayne and Jean Hage.  The Hages had argued the US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management had taken their private property through physical and regulatory takings.  They filed their case in 1991 after weathering 13 years of unprecedented regulatory harassment on the Nevada ranch.

The court ruled they owned the water that flowed from the federal lands to their private lands, the ditch rights of way and fifty feet on either side as they crossed the federal lands, and all range improvements on their federal grazing allotments.  It was the first federal lands grazing case ever filed in the Claims Court, and it resulted in a marvelous victory for western landowners.

The Government's opening brief argues, among other issues, that the Forest Service’s actions were “an unintended consequence of government regulatory action.”

Ladd Bedford, lead Attorney for the Hages and Attorney at Hanson Bridgett in San Franscisco stated "The government did not forthrightly and honestly present the record to the court and disingenuously presents the facts and evidence that only supports its truncated and misleading theories. The law is that a factual finding made by the judge will be overturned if there is clear error and there is no evidence in the record to support such finding.  There is plenty of evidence to support each of the judge's findings attacked by the government and our brief and appendix will cover all that evidence.  In short, I am confident that we can strongly support the decision of Judge Smith."

American Stewards of Liberty

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Twenty years after the initial filing and the appeals goes on. This is what can categorically be termed Bullshit! There is no single American who can weather the onslaught of the damn government. When the deal is condensed into a macro assessment, it is the legal system that benefits. Twenty years and still the appeals goes on . . . yes, Bullshit!!!!