HK’s David Wilkes Submits Amicus Curiae Brief to US Supreme Court

September 21, 2022 | Articles & Press Releases

HK's David Wilkes Submits Amicus Curiae Brief to US Supreme Court

HK is proud to announce that Partner David Wilkes, serving as pro bono Counsel of Record, has submitted an Amicus Curiae (“friend of the Court”) brief to the United Supreme Court in a matter urging that so-called “surplus retention” statutes are an unconstitutional violation of the Fifth Amendment guaranty of just compensation for a taking of private property and the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against excessive fines.

In the enforcement of delinquent property taxes, the New York State Real Property Tax Law allows a local government to keep any surplus money received at the auction of a property that was foreclosed for the non-payment of taxes rather than return the excess to the former homeowner. This surplus represents built-up homeowner equity and is a property right like any other.

Most states provide for the payment back to the homeowner of the surplus, just as in a bank foreclosure. The main case, Tyler v. Hennepin County, originates in Minnesota under a similar statute. David’s brief was also submitted on behalf of Legal Services of the Hudson Valley.