Loretto v. Teleprompter Manhattan CATV Corp.
458 U.S. 419 (1982)
Loretto owned an apartment
building. In order to provide cable tv service to the residents,
Manhattan CATV installed a cable on the outside of the building.
There was a New York law (§828) that required property owners to allow
installation and maintenance of cable wires on their property.
Loretto, upset at the
aesthetic damage an ugly wire caused her property, sued to have §828 declared unconstitutional.
Loretto argued that the
permanent physical occupation of her property constituted a taking and was an unconstitutional violation of the Takings
Manhattan CATV argued that §828 was not a taking and was just a
regulation on the permissible use of rental property by tenants.
They didn't have satellite
tv back then, so without a cable, a tenant would be limited in what
channels they could receive.
The Trial Court found the law
to be constitutional. Loretto appealed.
The New York Supreme Court
affirmed. Loretto appealed.
The US Supreme Court reversed
and found §828 to be
The US Supreme Court found
that the cable represented a 'permanent physical occupation' of Loretto's
property (albeit a very minor one).
The Court found that a
'permanent physical occupation' constitutes a regulatory taking without regard to whether the action achieves
an important public benefit or has only minimal economic impact on the
A regulatory taking refers to a situation in which a government
regulates a property to such a degree that the regulation effectively
amounts to an exercise of the government's eminent domain power without
actually divesting the property's owner of title to the property.
The Court found that the Takings
Clause of the Constitution prevents
the government from taking someone's property without compensation.
The case was remanded to
determine how much money Loretto was due for her loss. The Court gave
Loretto $1, finding that her property value would actually increase as a
result of access to cable tv.