Kelo et al. v. City of New London et al. (Case Study Sample)
A case brief is a written summary of a decided case. Each professor and lawyer has
their own format for briefing a case. A case brief will focus on the main issue(s) of the
case and is a valuable tool when conducting legal research. Not only does the act of
briefing a case help you to isolate the issue, it can clarify the facts that were instrumental
in coming to the conclusion that the Judges or Justices did. When asked to prepare a
brief for someone, it is a good idea to ask for a sample first to make sure you comply with
their format requirements. It is also vital for you to obtain a copy of the actual case. What
is in your textbook is usually a very abbreviated version of the case, which may or may
not even contain all of the issues decided in that case.
For the purposes of this class, you will use the following format:
Citation: The citation is the name, reporter and date the case was decided. It is also a
good idea to list the actual court if it is not apparent from the citation. For example:
Marbury v. Madison 5 US 137 (1803).
Facts: The facts section will only include the facts important to the actual holding in the
case. While you need to provide enough information so that the reader will know who is
doing what, you should exclude any matters which did not have an effect on the outcome
of the case. You do not want to copy of the facts straight from the case, it will be very
obvious and prevent your case brief from being “brief.”
You should make sure you know what the issue and reasoning is before you set down the
facts. You should indicate which party was the plaintiff and which was the defendant at
trial and refer to them by name throughout the brief. This is because at the appellate
level the winner will be called the appellee and the loser, the appellant. It gets confusing
if you continue to call them plaintiff and defendant or appellant and appellee.
Procedural History: The procedural history will indicate what happened in the trial level
(and appellate level if it made it to the Supreme Court). You should also indicate which
trial court the case came from. You would need to indicate what the causes of actions
were and how the court ruled on them. You will then indicate who brought the appeal
Issue: Unless the decision is very clear, this may be the most difficult part of the brief.
You need to indicate, in question form, what the appellate court is being asked to decide.
If there is more than one question to be answered, you need to list them all.
KELO ET AL. v. CITY OF New London ET AL.
Citation: KELO ET AL. v. CITY OF New London ET AL., 545 U. S. ____ (2005)
Facts: New London city had an intent of improving its ailing economy. For this they were making purchases of land from most residents. Sale was based on a willing buyer willing seller approach. Kelo (plaintiff), fails to sell their parts. After negotiations the plaintiff fails to comply thus the respondent initiate’s condemnation. The petition argues that taking of the land is against private use rights. On the other hand, the respondent argues for taking under the public purpose rights. The respondents from the development plan requires about 90 acres of land to effect the plan. The city is able to negotiate most of the land pieces and thus they make purchases. For the unwilling sellers (Kelo being one) they decide to effect a condemnation rule under the public taking which results to the case. The petitioner does not act under intentional development denial since not of the land and property was in bad shape and thus none could have been classified under condemnation.
Procedural history: the petitioner had presented the case to the state-court which had ruled in their favour for parcel 4A. For parcel 3A, the petitioners claim on grounds of private use, the land was in good condition, and thus their right was violated was not granted. This was in the year 2000 when hearing was at New London Superior Court under the public use claim as stated in amendment 5. The court gave a permanent restraining order prohibiting that some part of the land should not be taken (parcel 4a). In the past (244), a ruling on the issue had burned all form of taking of condemned land for public use. Relief was not granted on other parcels. The case was petitioned at the Supreme Court of Connecticut by both the petitioner and the respondent. The court under appeal upheld the ruling from superior court with regard to parcel 3A and a counter opinion granting the respondent a way through for parcel 4A that was initially prohibited.
Issue: does taking of condemned land by the city constitute public use and when it is appropriately different to justify lack of relief on private land. Legal rights of all parties need to be considered in a public taking. Thus does the city proposed disposition of taking land from the unwilling sellers constitute to public use as guided by the taking clause. Hence the issue at hand lies on whether the economic development plan proposed served a public use. And thus whether a public taking in form of an economic development proceed should be taken as public interest.
Holding: yes. Economic development plan carefully considered and developed for its appropriateness and necessity constitute a public use. Thus protected under the municipal, federal, and the constitution to amount to public interest which is in line with the provisions of amendment 5.
Reasoning: the court ruling was justifiable under different justifications including; (1) the city was guided under the “public use” clause where the disposition was seen as a taking. (2) The land would not be taken for private gain but must have been barked by clear development plan for all which was dispensed to the court. (3) It is satisfactory, that the land in question would result into economic rejuvenation and thus creating a difference from other ruling partaking public use. (4) The thought that economic development does not qualify for public use does not align with logical reasoning as well as the rule of precedence as claimed by the petitioner. (5) The proposed development would lead to creation of more than 1000 jobs. (6) The area has in the past been a source of revenue and economic development thus could be used for revitalisation. (7) The respondent had placed a forum for negotiation with the petitioner which failed. The court argued that the planning of the development had been given considerable attention and thus even for parcel 4, prohibition was not necessary. In decided case, most of them had been based on arguments of states that had been destroyed beyond repair. Also, it was clear that the plan would be actualised without private gains. Therefore, the condemnation amounted to public interest.
Concurrence: the opinion derived by Stevens concurs with Kennedy. The Supreme Court of Connecticut concurs with the superior court on the basis that the taking was guided by chapter 132 of the municipal development. Justice Kennedy dictates that under the federal and constitutional engagements, economic development amounts to a valid public taking and thus should make a clear review as to the partaking to avoid feeding private interests and thus there was satisfactory evidence that the respondent did not have private interest. As for parcel 3, the Connecticut concurs on bases of considerable attention given to planning. Although the judges agreed to the economic development plan they warned that it could constitute to an illegality since they had not undertaken all the steps to ensure they had convinced that the plan economic development and benefits would come to pass. Stevens asserts that the state would not take property to make private benefits and thus on this ground, the petitioner would be granted their rights. For instance on the pesticide dissemination case, the case was decide not to adhere to the guidelines under the public use.
Dissent: Justice O’CONNOR make a lay of points arguing: first although there is a right of
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