Under the 5th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States,1 the government has the power to take private property when it is needed for public use. The 5th Amendment also requires that the government pay reasonable compensation to the landowner in exchange for the taking. Unfortunately, in some situations, the government fails to adequately compensate the landowner for the taking of their property in violation of the 5th Amendment. In such cases, the landowner can file a legal action against the government called an inverse condemnation action.

Common inverse condemnation scenarios

Actions for inverse condemnation can arise out of a variety of actions by the government, including the following:

  • A physical seizure of the property (e.g. flooding, depriving the owner of access to the land, the government remaining on the property after a lease expires, and more)
  • A regulatory taking,2 which occurs when overly strict regulations effectively render the property unusable for a viable purpose.
  • Taking a lesser property interest, such as an easement, in the property.
  • Damaging the property.
  • Taking of personal property, intellectual property, or contracts.

Unique issue in an inverse condemnation case

Unlike a traditional condemnation case, an inverse condemnation case puts the landowner in the plaintiff position and the government on the defense. There are also often additional steps in the inverse condemnation process than in a regular condemnation case. For example, in a condemnation case, the government admits that a taking occurred and the main question is the amount of adequate compensation that should be paid to the landowner. In an inverse condemnation case, however, there are two main legal issues: 1) whether a taking occurred to begin with, and 2) the deserved compensation. Often, there are two separate trials to determine each issue separately. For this reason and more, inverse condemnation cases can be extremely complex.

Contact an experienced eminent domain and condemnation lawyer for assistance today

Filing a lawsuit against the government can be intimidating as government agencies all have teams of attorneys prepared to represent them. For this reason, you must also always ensure that you have the highest quality of representation for yourself by a skilled lawyer with experience in inverse condemnation cases. Contact the experienced attorneys at Sever Storey today at 888-318-3761 for a free case evaluation today.