Court of Appeals rules in favor of Columbia in Eminent Domain Case

by Robert J. Smith on June 25, 2010

A unanimous NY State Court of Appeals held that Columbia University was entitled to take a number of properties in West Harlem by eminent domain, reversing the decision of the Appellate Division, First Department. The lower court decision had distinguished the Court of Appeals ruling in the recent Atlantic Yards case, but the Court of Appeals remained consistent in its application of the law, in spite of the factual differences between the two cases. This sets a potentially dangerous precedent, as it allows a private institution to take private property under the guise of it being for the benefit of the public at large. Here is the link to the NY Times story about the decision:

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