Is the government liable for losses associated with shutdowns?

Are states that shutdown business, churches, households, etc. required to compensate for damages?

Here is what constitution says:

No person shall . . .be obliged to relinquish his property, where it may be necessary for public use, without just compensation
Fifth amendment

nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law
Fourteenth amendment

Business have lost billions as a result of government closures related to the coronavirus; can they demand compensation from the government?

Can people who are unemployed as a result of government-ordered shutdowns demand compensation as well?

Could Bayer have demanded compensation from the government when it made the sale of their product Heroin illegal in the United States?

Bayer was German company and the seizure of their trademarks was part of war reparations for World War I. Banning one product is hardly the same as shutting down a business.

Seizing a private business would definitely require compensation under the constitution.

In Pennsylvania, law firms are suing because the closure denies the right to counsel:

A case to decide whether the government is liable for destruction of property from a police raid is headed for the Supreme Court:

If the government is liable for destruction of a house, then logically it would also be liable for destruction of a business.

Bayer’s patents were seized after WWII - because they were part of IG Farben. The notable patent was “aspirin”.

“Heroin” was a different product entirely, and was banned in the United States in 1925, under the (not kidding) Anti Heroin Act. It was banned due to its addictive properties, not as war reparations.

Why is banning one product different from temporarily closing businesses, on a Constitutional level?

In short … no.

In long …

Will many businesses affected by shutdowns be compensated? Yes
Will some businesses never open back up because of the shutdown? Likely yes but that was more of their reckless business operations than any short-term losses because of the shutdown. In other words if you were operating a business at or near break even, you can’t expect the government to give you compensation for something you weren’t even earning.

Will people who are unemployed be compensated? Yes, they already are, or were you not paying attention to the 2 Trillion yes Trillion with a T aid package? And I suspect that won’t be the last of that aid to be authorized.

. . .the general rule at least is that while property may be regulated to a certain extent, if regulation goes too far it will be recognized as a taking . . . Justice Holmes, Pennsylvania Coal Co. v. Mahon

Businesses are going bankrupt, and the government has imposed a total closure of whole classes of businesses for the indefinite future. That arguably amounts to a “taking”.

Here is a more recent case that supports Justice Holmes’ opinion:

At this point, the government is offering a loan that will be forgiven, as long as the loan is used to pay for employees payroll and certain operating expenses. I wouldn’t really consider this “compensation”. They are getting a loan or “grant” to keep paying their employees.

Nobody writes a business plan or has a contingency plan for zero revenue. It is not reckless for a business to have not planned for months of zero revenue.

You think businesses should be allowed to make a profit when that businesses directly affects public health and puts other businesses in total at risk? Sounds like a PG&E situation. Yes they are being “compensated” by receiving the funding they need to continue to operate their business. The alternative could and still can prove to me MUCH worse.

A business plan is not an ongoing operational document for any business. It’s a decision making tool, both for the owner and for any potential creditor or investor in that business. 5 years after you open a business do you think the bank that loaned you half a million dollars cares what was in your business plan? No they expect to be repaid. Now it is true MOST businesses can operate for months on zero revenue but it isn’t unreasonable for any business operating for any decent length of time to have enough cash reserves to operate for some period of time even with little to no revenue. Heck there are industries where this occurs seasonally and its accounted for.

Bottom line if you are one operating a business that can’t sustain itself for a month or two then you were most likely well on your way to insolvency the next time an organic downturn in the economy happens anyway.

Did this have anything to do with what I posted?

You and I have different ideas on the value of business planning and budgeting. I write up both at the end of every year. You are correct that it isn’t needed for a creditor. I have never written a budget or business plan that calls for contraction, I have always planned on growth, which requires investment. If you ain’t growin’ you’re dyin’. We have cash reserves and we plan to use those funds if goals and revenues aren’t met, but there is no plan for zero revenue. If you have a plan for zero revenue in your budget, you would just close the doors for that time.

Yes, you seem to think these businesses should be compensated because they were forced to shut down because of the risk they posed to the public.

You have cash reserves but you only use them as a factor for growing the business? Then yeah I’d say you are right, you and I do have different ideas on the value of business planning and budgeting. If you aint growing you are dyin is a lovely sentiment, but it doesn’t take into account real life situations just like the one we are talking about now. Revenue growth is meaningless if your costs outpace your revenue. Costs such as a situation where a pandemic could shut you down for some period of time. If you plan all your cash reserves based on growth you are going to fail. I’ll bet this becomes a factor going forward and businesses will adjust.

Either way, no compensation is dued or owed. Thats the way of things, and many businesses are going to fail as a result of these shutdowns. If the owner hasn’t secured themselves as a product of this business I certainly don’t see the government doing so for them unless of course they are one of the too big to fail types.

I am not an advocate of businesses being compensated for this. I was not stating or implying that. I did say I don’t consider what they are receiving in loans as compensation.

No. No one budgets for a pandemic and i won’t after this one is over either.

Fair enough, point taken.

Perhaps you should, cause I doubt this will be the last time this happens, maybe even this year. As they say those who don’t learn from the past …

Is Nunes legally responsible for any person who took his advice to go out with their family for a meal if they contracted the coronavirus as a consequence of Nunes’s advice?

They had a choice same as when Pelosi invited her constituents to join her in Chinatown.

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