Caldwell Coot’s Case against Special Legislature allowing Whitewater Rafting Outfitters on crossing his Private Land


Caldwell lives in his private land, an abandoned coal mine in Tennessee and has the same rights accorded to any other private property owner. So when Coot challenges the constitutionality of a legislation that allows the rafting outfitters to access his private piece of land up to four times a day, the challenge has great legal weight. The case is founded on the provisions of the law on private property rights that Coot should enjoy (Price, 2003).

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According to Pilon (2009), in the US Constitution, there are no generally defined laws that permit public access to private property or land. The Fifth Amendment and the just compensation clause, “nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation,” (Pilon, 2009, pg 345-346), clearly breathes life into the Coot’s legal challenge on the legality of the special amendment. In the clause, public access to private property should only be allowed by the property owner if only he or she received a fair compensation. In this case, the whitewater rafting outfitters only contribute to building the roads to the river but do not compensate Coot whose privately owned land they plan to cross to access the river. Caldwell Coot stands to gain nothing if the special amendment is implemented. Therefore, Coot has the moral and legal authority to deny the outfitters access to the river through his land.

In this case, the outfitters intend to access the river, a public property, through a private land belonging to Coot. According to provisions of the Fifth Amendment, the public is only allowed to access the river through a public access point and wade, canoe or float through the private property but not access the public river through the private property (Matlock, 2015). Therefore, Coot’s challenge on the constitutionality of the special law will be sustained and heard in the court of law.

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Did you like this sample?
  1. Matlock, S (2015). Restricted access to waterways on private land could prompt legal battle. The New Mexican.
  2. Pilon, R. (2009). Cato Handbook for Policymakers. Cato Institute.
  3. Price, P. J. (2003). Property rights: Rights and liberties under the law. Santa Barbara, Calif. ABC-Clio.
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