Sunday, November 20, 2016
It may be chilly where you are, but the bright, sunny SEALS is just around the corner! From July 31 to August 6, legal scholars of all disciplines will gather in Boca Raton, Florida to discuss the finer points of the law and enjoy a few cocktails in the sun. Property scholars, fear not, there will be plenty of discussion groups and panels for you! The Property Law team, lead by Marc Roark (Savannah), Al Brophy (UNC), Jamila Jefferson-Jones (UMKC), and myself (Tulane), have put together the following discussion groups and panel proposal for SEALS. If you are interested in participating in any of the below groups/panels, please email Marc Roark.
Discussion Group 1: Property Law before the Current Court
During the Fall 2016 term, SCOTUS has taken on several property related cases. Murr v. Wisconsin presents a takings challenge to conventional zoning rights in the face of potential vested rights and the relevant parcel question. Fair housing reemerges in two consolidated cases before the Court: Bank of America v. Miami and Wells Fargo & Co. v. Miami. And Venezuela v. Helmerich & Payne International, seeks to clarify when a foreign government may be sued in U.S. courts for seizing property located in that country but owned by a U.S. firm. Property scholars will discuss the impact of these decisions on property jurisprudence, theory, and function.
Discussion Group 2: Property, Retroactivity, and Obergefell
In what is thought to be the first decision of its kind in the nation, a judge in Bucks County Pennsylvania recently issued a ruling allowing retroactive recognition of a same-sex common-law marriage. Dr. Sabrina Mauer and Dr. Kimberly Underwood, a gay couple entered into a common law marriage in the early 1990s. They were married in a ceremony in 2015 and three months later, one spouse died. The court held that the marriage actually dated back to the 1990s, which had a number of impacts for Social Security rights and other property that would be the surviving spouse's. In striking contrast, an Alabama judge undid a succession distribution of $1 million because at the time the man died, Alabama didn't recognize same sex marriage, so his spouse could not inherit. The deceased's mother inherited about $1 million. Post-Obergefell, the surviving spouse successfully got the succession reopened and a judge said the deceased's mother had to pay the surviving spouse the $1 million she had received because it was rightly owned by the surviving spouse. This discussion group will consider the retroactivity of Obergefell and how that can impact property rights, be they inheritance, marital/community property, etc.
Panel: Property and Protests
Protests often run against established property regimes, whether they are private property rights, zoning and ordinance enforcement by cities, or claims for property. This panel will present papers around the question of protest as they impact property claims.