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Case STudy

Many airports are located in areas populated by people. Most people dislike the constant noise of the aircraft, but deal with it anyway. However, sometimes the noise can be too much for some people and action will be taken. In some extreme cases, a major question becomes involved. Does the flight of aircraft over the property of another constitute a taking?
Thomas Lee Causby and his wife were proud owners of a 2.8-acre chicken farm that happened to lie under the approach path of a military airfield near Greensboro, North Carolina. They claimed that the noise level and glaring lights during the nighttime interfered drastically with the normal use of their property. Their sleep was disturbed as well as their chickens. Unfortunately, they had to give up their chicken business. Six to ten chickens would suffer death each day because the noise would scare them, and they flew into walls. A total of 150 chickens suffered unfortunate deaths because of this. Then, the Causbys decided to take action. They submitted a claim to the Federal Government for the loss of their property. What started out as a simple claim, finally led to a Supreme Court ruling.
The government's defense argued that there was no taking because the government had asserted control over the use of the airspace. Aircraft flying within this airspace was deemed navigable airspace according to the 1926 Air Commerce Act and the Civil Aeronautics act of 1938. Such flights were an exercise of the declared right of travel through public airspace. In turn, damages caused by a lawful action are consequential and do not constitute a taking
Heated arguments for the respondents were claims that the use of the overlying airspace by the defendant amounted to a taking. An old slogan was then brought up in the case. "He who owns the soil owns it to the heavens!" The taking of airspace over Causby's property resulted in damage to the remainder of the property. Cau…

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