What did I miss? Pt. 1: Supreme Court Grants

Looking through cases the Supreme Court has taken or turned down since the end of March, the court granted cert in  Middle-Snake-Tamarac Rivers Watershed Dist v. Stengrim, an anti-SLAPP statute issue discussed previously here.   Not having read the petition for cert, this could go in two directions – either the Supreme Court will find as a matter of law that the anti-SLAPP statute precludes the District’s suit (the Court of Appeals remanded for factual findings); or that anti-SLAPP doesn’t apply to suits enforcing settlement agreements, and the District shouldn’t be bothered.  Given the content of the District’s suit (alleging, among other things, that the defendant was “using the Data Practices Act as a weapon,” I’m betting on the first possibility.

Also granted cert is a dispute over a DNR certification of a variance granted by the City of St. Mary’s Point.  The Court of Appeals found that DNR rules still controlled, and supported a DNR refusal to certify a variance  in the Lower St. CroixWild & Scenic River area, even though the agency had previously certified a local ordinance as “in substantial compliance” with DNR rules.  The posture of the case would seem to foreshadow some holding on pre-emption and the DNR’s role in some of these mandated local-ordinance programs (wild & scenic rivers, shorelands, floodplains, etc.).  But there are other significant targets for the Supreme Court in this opinion, in particular the treatment of substandard lots.

The Court denied cert in Kottschade v. Rochester, which held that the exhaustion of administrative remedies doctrine necessarily means that the timeliness of a takings complaint will be measured from the end of any mandatory administrative process, and that nothing more needs to be done before suit once the taking claim is ripe.

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