Another Victory in Hage v. United States

February 6, 2003

By Margaret Byfield

Executive Director

Stewards of the Range

707 East United Heritage Court, Suite 150

Meridan, Idaho 83642


We just received news from the U.S. Court of Federal Claims: The court has
issued its written opinion denying the governments fourth
summary judgment motion filed in Hage v. United States. The government
filed its motion arguing in part that the case should be dismissed because
Hage did not have access (via the grazing permit) to the stock water
rights and ditch rights the court determined Hage owned in its January 29,
2002, decision, therefore these rights are noncompensable. The court
disagreed finding the property rights owned by Hage were pre-existing to
the permit system and “the court is not of the opinion that lack of a
grazing permit that prevents access to federal lands can eliminate
Plaintiff’s vested water rights and ditch rights.” The court continued,
“The value of these rights, if any, is something to be determined at

This is a significant precedent because it demonstrates that even though
the government eliminates a landowner’s grazing permit, this does not
preclude the landowner from pursing a takings claim for the property the
government has kept them from accessing.

It is important to note this court is not considering the question whether
or not a rancher is required to have a grazing permit. The Claims Court’s
jurisdiction is over whether the regulations at issue has taken property
without just compensation.

Also, today the court is holding a status hearing on the case and we are
hopeful that a trial date for the takings and valuation phase will be set.

We will keep you posted.

To read the full text of the order:


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