Ackerman v. Port of Seattle – Case Brief Summary (Washington)

In Ackerman v. Port of Seattle, 55 Wn.2d 400, 409, 348 P.2d 664 (1960), the Court said:

When restrictions upon the ownership of private property fall into the category of "proper exercise of the police power," they, validly, may be imposed without payment of compensation.

The difficulty arises in deciding whether a restriction is an exercise of the police power or an exercise of the eminent domain power.

When private property rights are actually destroyed through the governmental action, then police power rules are usually applicable. See State ex rel. Miller v. Cain (1952), 40 Wn.2d 216, 242 P.2d 505.

But, when private property rights are taken from the individual and are conferred upon the public for public use, eminent domain principles are applicable. See, generally, Conger v. Pierce County (1921), 116 Wash. 27, 198 P. 377, 18 A.L.R. 393. Ackerman v. Port of Seattle, 55 Wn.2d at 408.