Briefcase

Briefcase: Chickens vs. Planes

Host: Dean Leonard Baynes

What happens when chickens go up against planes? The winners might surprise you! Dean Leonard Baynes, with the University of Houston Law Center, looks back at this legal fight.

“Do homeowners own the airspace above their land? That question was addressed in the 1946 U.S. Supreme Court case of United States v. Causby when a chicken farmer took the federal government to court –and won.  Thomas Lee Causby owned a farm near an airport used regularly by the U.S. military. He argued the noise frightened the animals–so much so, that over one hundred chickens died.”

“Causby argued the U.S. violated the takings clause of the Fifth Amendment by flying planes in the airspace that he owned above his farm. The Fifth Amendment says private property cannot be taken for public use without just compensation. Causby won, setting forth that a land owner has a property interest over the airspace above his land.”

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