Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: Supreme Court Edition

In 1999, a dealer won a pretty big case in a pretty big court of law.

BY HBSDealer Staff

The Oct. 10, 1994 issue of National Home Center News, the forerunner of HBSDealer, proclaimed in a page 4 headline: “Dealer gets day in Supreme Court — Oregon’s A-Boy wins first battle vs. city; to sue for losses.”

Sound impressive? It is. Here’s the story:

Dan Dolan, president of 11-location (including 8 home centers) A-Boy Stores of Portland, Ore., and his mother Florence, wanted to double the size of their 9,700-sq.ft. A-Boy Electric and Plumbing Supply store in Tigard, Ore., and pave the parking lot. But the city said A-Boy was required to offset the traffic impact of the expansion by relinquishing 10% of land for a public bike path.

The Dolans sued, citing the Fifth Amendment, which bars the taking of property by government agencies without compensation for the owners.

And here’s the bottom line: On June 24, 1994, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Dolan’s favor in a 5-4 vote.

Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote the majority opinion in Dolan v. City of Tigard. Of all the cases decided during that particular term, he called the case the most important of the bunch.  He wrote Tigard had not adequately demonstrated the relationship between the additional traffic and the need for a bike path. He wrote that in the future, government must prove there is a “rough proportionality” between the development’s impact on the community and the size of the requested mitigation measures.”

The landmark case has its own Wikipedia page, explaining the case’s impact on limitations to the state’s ability to compel property owners to make certain public improvements.

Dolan had the last word in the article: “{The city of Tigard] singled out my mother and me to pay the price of a bike path for the public. We’ve got to keep government from going crazy.”

A-Boy continues to operate two stores in Portland.

HBSDealer’s Throwback Thursday is sponsored by Schaffer Associates, a national management consulting firm specializing in executive search and organizational strategies for the hardware, home improvement, building materials, and consumer products industries. As the premier management consulting firm serving the industry, we help build organizations and leadership teams that foster corporate growth and success well into the future. Contact us at


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