Williams and Walsh - Eminent Domain

Inverse Condemnation

Under the law of eminent domain, the condemning authority must declare a taking when acquiring private property without the landowner’s consent pursuant to the federal and state constitution. The taking of private property triggers a landowner’s right to pursue just compensation for the taking of their property and their right to exclusive use and enjoyment of their land. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, the condemning authority may take property or property rights from an owner without declaring a taking and initiating the eminent domain process; thus preventing the property owner from pursuing a claim for just compensation. This is called an inverse condemnation.

In an inverse condemnation, a landowner has the right to file an inverse condemnation action in a court of law. Under this proceeding, the landowner has access to a court of law to explain how the actions of the condemning authority amount to the taking of property. The court can then issue a judgment and declaration that the condemning authorities actions amount to a taking of private property, giving the landowner the ability to move on to the damages phase of their inverse condemnation case where they can pursue a claim for maximum amount of just compensation for the taking under the law.

There are two general categories of inverse condemnation: regulatory takings and physical takings. Also worth mentioning are unreasonable development restrictions, which can result in a regulatory taking.

Regulatory Takings

A Regulatory Taking arises when a government agency passes some type of regulation that restricts a landowner’s ability to use their property.

Physical Takings

In this type of inverse condemnation, a condemning authority takes a portion of property or property rights without asserting it as a taking.

Unreasonable Development Restrictions

In this type of inverse condemnation, property owners are subject to unreasonable development restrictions when attempting to develop their property to its highest and best use. Such situations can, but do not always, rise to the level of and are akin to an inverse condemnation regulatory taking.

Our legal team possesses over 30 years of combined experience in condemnation matters. We are prepared to effectively counsel on, and vigorously challenge inverse condemnations. Our legal team has handled multiple inverse condemnations to settlement and through trial. We are here to guide you effectively and successfully.


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Eminent Domain Areas of Practice