Lawrence H. Shapiro, Esq., a Member of Ansell Grimm & Aaron, P.C., representing the Borough of Harvey Cedars achieved a landmark victory before the New Jersey Supreme Court in the case, Borough of Harvey Cedars v. Karan. By a 5-0 margin, the State’s highest Court overturned rulings by the Superior Court and Appellate Division in holding that evidence of the positive benefits from beach replenishment and dune construction shore protection projects should be considered by a jury in determining just compensation in partial takings cases. The decision marks a change in the law of the State which previously required a condemnor to demonstrate special benefits were received by a property owner in order to set off damages alleged to have been inflicted on property remaining after a partial taking; something that was never achieved in any reported decision in New Jersey. The decision in Karan creates a new standard by which such evidence should be presented to a jury.
The Supreme Court decision has been hailed as saving shore protection projects in the State due to the fact that even after Superstorm Sandy, many oceanfront property owners have refused to provide the easements necessary for the construction of protective dune and beach projects to begin, holding out for large payments for their easements. The Court’s ruling reversed a jury award to the Karan’s of $375,000 for the impact on their oceanfront view from a dune construction and beach replenishment project, and returns the matter to the trial court for a new trial in which the Borough will be able to present evidence of the benefits of the project, which it was previously prevented from doing.
Mr. Shapiro handled all aspects of the case including the jury trial, appeal, application to the Supreme Court and briefing and arguing the merits before that Court.
View Supreme Court Oral Argument video here