Ohio Supreme Court Rules No Compensable Taking Occurred as a Result of Filming Captain America: The Winter Soldier in Downtown Cleveland

By Malorie A. Alverson, Esq.

Earlier this month the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that reduced access to a downtown Cleveland parking lot did not constitute a compensable taking under the Ohio Constitution. The case arose after the City of Cleveland granted a permit to a production company, Vita-Ray Productions, LLC, to close a portion of West Third Street in downtown Cleveland for 16 consecutive days so that the company could film scenes for the move Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  Cleveland approved the permit based on the fact that the closure was necessary to enable the filming and that the film production would bring jobs and tax revenue to the city and would positively promote Cleveland to potential visitors.

Lakefront operates a parking lot that abuts both West Third and West Ninth Streets, with entrances on both streets. During the time that the permit was in effect, one of the two entrances to the parking lot was inaccessible due to the West Third Street closure.  Lakefront asserted that this loss of access caused a substantial impairment of its business and its property rights.  The case was filed as an original action in the Eighth District Court of Appeals, which found that Cleveland had taken Lakefront’s property without just compensation and issued a writ of mandamus ordering Cleveland to commence appropriation proceedings.  Cleveland appealed.

On appeal, the Ohio Supreme Court found that temporary interference with access to property does not rise to the level of a compensable taking. Similarly, the Court concluded that the temporary loss of Lakefront’s access to West Third Street for the duration of the Vita-Ray permit did not substantially, materially, or unreasonably interfere with Lakefront’s property rights.  As a result, Cleveland’s action did not create a compensable taking of Lakefront’s property under Ohio law.