Friday, May 3, 2013

Manhattan’s Most Expensive Home Hits the Market

If you like a peak into the lifestyles of the rich & famous, this real estate listing is right up your alley:

At first rumored to be listed at $120 million, the Pierre Hotel penthouse just hit the market under brokerage Sotheby’s International Realty for that steep $125 million. Located at 795 Fifth Avenue on the Upper East Side, the penthouse occupies the entire 41st, 42nd and 43rd floors. The entire apartment contains 16 rooms, including 5 en-suite bedrooms and 6 bathrooms, plus 4 terraces with sweeping views of Manhattan.

Here's the slideshow.

Steve Clowney

May 3, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Edwards on Restitution Following Mass Dispossession

MarkedwardsMark Edwards (William Mitchell) has posted The Paradoxes of Restitution (West Virginia Law Review) on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

Restitution following mass dispossession is often considered both ideal and impossible. Why? This article identifies two previously unnamed paradoxes that undermine the possibility of restitution.

First, both dispossession and restitution depend on the social construction of rights-worthiness. Over time, people once considered unworthy of property rights ‘become’ worthy of them. However, time also corrodes the practicality and moral weight of restitution claims. By the time the dispossessed ‘become’ worthy of property rights, restitution claims are no longer practically or morally viable. This is the time-unworthiness paradox.

Second, restitution claims are undermined by the concept of collective responsibility. People are sometimes dispossessed because collective responsibility is unjustly imposed on them for wrongs committed by a few members of a group. But restitution may require the dispossession of innocent current occupiers of land – thus imposing a type of collective responsibility on them. Therefore, restitution can be seen as committing the very wrong it purports to right. This is the collective responsibility paradox.

Both paradoxes can be overcome, but only if we recognize the rights-worthiness of others before time fatally corrodes the viability of restitution. We must also draw a careful distinction between the imposition of collective rights-unworthiness, which results in the mass dispossession of others, and the voluntary acceptance of collective responsibility, which results in the restitution of others.

After developing these ideas, the article examines them in the context of a particularly difficult and intractable case of dispossession and restitution. It draws upon interviews with restitution claimants whose stories reveal the paradoxes of restitution.

Steve Clowney

May 3, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

What Urbanism Looks Like


The Daily Mail reports that "Almost a million images of New York and its municipal operations have been made public for the first time on the internet. The city's Department of Records officially announced the debut of the photo database."

The archive contains more than 870,000 photographs and features all manner of city oversight -- from stately ports and bridges to grisly gangland killings. Here are the Daily Mail's favorites.

Steve Clowney

May 2, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wiseman & Bronin on Community-Scale Renewable Energy

Hannah Wiseman (Florida State) and Sara Bronin (U Conn) have posted Community-Scale Renewable Energy (San Diego J. of Climate & Energy Law) on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

As the movement toward cleaner energy has gained momentum within the United States, a growing number of scholars and policymakers have made the case for community-scale renewable energy: mid-sized energy sources supported by resources pooled from several private parties in close geographic proximity. When built and utilized at the community level, these energy facilities may allow for economies of scale that their owners could not achieve working individually. Individual distributed generation, such as solar infrastructure on the roofs of homes, involves high transaction costs and creates relatively small impacts. At the same time, community-scale renewable energy has advantages over large-scale projects, which are sited beyond our central cities, leading to energy sprawl and inefficiencies in transmission. Furthermore, in many neighborhoods, installing relatively new on-site distributed generation is still a bold leap even for the most innovative of consumers; those adopting new technologies benefit from the mutual support and understanding of other nearby adopters. Community projects ensure the presence of this type of shared support and understanding, thus lowering individual risks.

Substantial legal and structural barriers must be overcome if community-scale energy is to become a widespread reality. Building from previous work, this essay provides a framework of the three core legal changes that must occur in order to support widespread community-scale renewable energy. First, communities must be able to form business enterprises that govern the purchase, installation, operation, and maintenance of generation infrastructure and that manage the sale of energy produced. Second, communities must facilitate the construction of physical infrastructure, including homes, public spaces, and streets, that house renewable generation. Finally, the utility-consumer relationship must be redefined if community-scale generation is to become a reality.

Steve Clowney

May 2, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

What Kind of Property is a Concert Ticket?

The Wall Street Journal writes a property exam question on our behalf:

California lawmakers on Tuesday voted to preserve one of the live-music industry's most divisive technologies: paperless tickets—which can be redeemed only at the venue, only by the purchaser. [...]

The vote came after a hearing that centered on a philosophical debate over the question of ticket "ownership." Live Nation's camp argued that ticket holders don't "own" their seats; tickets are just a license to occupy the space for several hours, which venues can revoke for bad behavior.

But StubHub and its supporters say ticket holders own the rights to their tickets until they walk in the arena door, at which moment the revocable license kicks in. "Until that point they own the rights to the ticket and therefore should be able to sell them," said StubHub spokesman Glenn Lehrman said. "It [was] really a property rights bill."

Steve Clowney

May 1, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Recent SSRN Downloads

SsrnIn honor of the beginning of the month, here are the most downloaded property articles from SSRN over the last 60 days:


1.  [198 downloads]  The European Regulations on Succession of July 2012: A Path Towards the End of the Succession Conflicts of Law in Europe, or Not?
     Angelique Devaux (French Attorney)

2 . [168 downloads]  Against Endowment Theory: Experimental Economics and Legal Scholarship
     Gregory Klass (Georgetown) & Kathryn Zeiler (Georgetown) 

3.  [143 downloads]  Robo-Litigation
     Dustin A. Zacks (King, Nieves & Zacks PLLC)

4.  [127 downloads]  What Happens to Our Facebook Accounts When We Die?: Probate versus Policy and the Fate of Social-Media Assets Postmortem
     Kristina Sherry (Pepperdine)

5.  [124 downloads]  Psychologies of Property (and Why Property is Not a Hawk-Dove Game)
     Carol M. Rose (Arizona)

6.  [109 downloads]  Keeping Up with the Jones Case: Establishing Constructive Trusts in ‘Sole Legal Owner’ Scenarios
     Brian Sloan (Cambridge)

7.  [94 downloads]  Property Law and the Rise, Life, and Demise of Racially Restrictive Covenants
     Carol M. Rose (Arizona)

8.  [92 downloads]  Revenge of the Clerks: MERS Confronts County Clerk and Qui Tam Lawsuits
     Dustin A. Zacks (King, Nieves & Zacks PLLC)

9.  [92 downloads]  Rescuing the Bundle of Rights Metaphor in Property Law
     Jane B. Baron (Temple)

10.  [92 downloads]  The Dark Side of Town: The Social Capital Revolution in Residential Property
     Stephanie Stern (Chicago-Kent)

Steve Clowney

May 1, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Effect of "Disorderly Behavior" Ordinances on Victims of Domestic Violence

Sarah Goodyear looks at how municipal nuisance ordinances that target "disruptive" tenants can impact the victims of domestic violence:

Imagine that you are being attacked by your abusive former boyfriend in your own home, where you are raising your three-year-old daughter. Your life is in danger.

But if you call the police, you know you might be evicted, because the law in your community requires landlords to throw tenants out if cops come to the home three times within a four-month period for "disorderly behavior."

The last time your 21-year-old daughter called the cops, they came and they told you, "You are on three strikes. We’re gonna have your landlord evict you." And so you stopped calling. Soon the boyfriend – with whom you’ve been trying to break up – saw his chance to move back in and continue his abusive behavior. You couldn’t do anything about it.

Then one night, he almost killed you by stabbing you in the neck with a piece of broken glass. One of your neighbors called the cops. You were helicoptered to a trauma center and survived. But when you came home from the hospital, the city where you have lived for 24 years had started proceedings to force you out of your apartment, against the wishes of your landlord – who stood to lose his rental license if he didn’t file eviction proceedings.

This is the story of Lakisha Briggs, as outlined in a suit filed last week (PDF) in U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania by the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU, the ACLU of Pennsylvania, and the law firm Pepper Hamilton are bringing the federal suit on Briggs’s behalf against the borough of Norristown, Pennsylvania.

Steve Clowney

April 30, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wolf on Takings and Sea-Level Rise Adaptation

WolfMichael Wolf (Florida) has posted Strategies for Making Sea-Level Rise Adaptation Tools 'Takings-Proof' (Journal of Land Use & Envt'l Law) on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

While the costs of some Sea-Level Rise (SLR) adaptation tools are undeniably daunting, the American legal system poses an additional, potentially budget-busting impediment — the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Officials at all governmental strata and from all three branches should keep the demands made by the Takings Clause, as interpreted by the judiciary, in mind as they choose tools from the diverse SLR-adaptation toolbox, as they justify their choices to the electorate and other constituencies, as they put those tools to use, and as they defend that use from litigants claiming abuse. This article sets out to achieve four tasks: First, the article locates the heart of the Takings Clause in a single sentence from a 1960 decision — Armstrong v. United States. Second, the article reviews six taking varieties, ranging from the most concrete common — the affirmative exercise of eminent domain — to the most fanciful — judicial takings. Each variety in turn is matched with one representative Supreme Court decision and with operative language drawn from that opinion. Third, with Armstrong as a guiding principle, the article identifies which of the most common SLR tools already being deployed pose “no,” “minimal,” “moderate,” and “serious” takings implications. Fourth, the article suggests methods that government officials can use to address the challenge posed by tools with the highest takings risk.

Steve Clowney

April 30, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 29, 2013

Liveblogging ALPS

I just returned from ALPS Annual Meeting (Association of Law Property and Society) in Minnesota.  In case you missed the event, Jessie Owley liveblogged many of the sessions.  Check out her posts at Land Use Prof.

Steve Clowney

April 29, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Rent Remains Very High

Jimmy McMillan, founder of the Rent Is Too Damn High Party, is back in the New York Mayor's race with a new ad:


Steve Clowney

April 29, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Mulvaney on How The Supreme Court Analyzes Property Rights in Takings Cases

Tim MulvaneyTim Mulvaney (Texas Wesleyan) has posted Foreground Principles (George Mason) on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

The U.S. Supreme Court has declared for decades that, for Takings Clause purposes, property interests are not created by the Constitution but rather are determined by “existing rules or understandings that stem from an independent source such as state law.” However, the Court has exhibited a strong normative preference for a certain type of independent source — “background principles” of the common law — over others, namely state statutory and administrative law. This Article calls this preference into question.

The Article develops a model to demonstrate the four basic categories, or quadrants, of takings decisions that extensive reliance on the “background principles” inquiry has wrought, and questions the self-contained nature of this inquiry. In doing so, it asserts that a focus on connecting or disconnecting challenged regulations to what are, at times, antiquated background common law principles can come at the expense of a more direct and transparent consideration of what is in the foreground: the public and private interests implicated by the challenged regulations in the modern context within which those regulations are promulgated. The Article advocates de-emphasizing the background principles inquiry in favor of a contextual analysis that is centered on fairness and recognizes that background principles might not be sufficient to deal with modern problems and serve modern human needs.



Steve Clowney

April 29, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)