On May 30, 2013, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims denied a property owners’ motion for reconsideration in Lone Star Industries, Inc. v. United States, holding again that Lone Star had failed to state a valid claim for just compensation. After that ruling, Lone Star filed a motion for reconsideration arguing that the Court had not accepted the allegations of the complaint that Lone Star had a valid property interest, misapplied the navigational servitude defense, and misapplied Louisiana state law. The CFC rejected all three arguments.
Four years, eight judicial opinions, and a trip to the Supreme Court later, the CFC—on remand from the Federal Circuit’s decision finding liability—has finally ruled on what back pay the federal judges can recover. Beer v. United States, No. 09-37C, is one of several cases brought by federal judges seeking back pay under Article III of the Constitution for cost-of-living adjustments required by Article III and the Ethics Reform Act of 1989. The Ethics Reform Act severely restricted what income federal judges could earn from outside sources, such as speaking honoraria. But the Act also provided that federal judges would also receive a cost-of-living adjustment, commonly known as a COLA, every time regular federal employees received an adjustment. Yet Congress later denied funding for the judges’ COLA, not once, not twice, but six times—in 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2007, and 2010. The six judges in Beer first filed suit in 2009.