What is Inverse Condemnation?

Inverse condemnation typically occurs when the government takes a portion of a person’s property through eminent domain, and the result is that the property remaining with the person is worthless or has been significantly diminished in value.

For example, suppose that the state is interested in taking the parking lot of a large retail mall for purposes of building a road.  While the parking lot may take up half of the total property, the value of the parking lot may only be a small fraction of the over-all property value, as the mall facilities will be worth substantially more than the parking lot.

Since the government only wants the parking lot, it will only want to pay the relatively small value associated with the parking lot, and also to avoid paying for the mall.  But if the parking lot is taken and customers can’t get to the mall to shop, the mall will be worthless.

In this case, even though the mall owner is left with what otherwise would have been a major asset, the mall owner may claim that it has been significantly and adversely impacted by the taking of the parking lot.  If the mall owner can show that the mall is now virtually worthless because of the taking, the owner could sue the state for inverse condemnation in an amount equal to the fair market value of the mall (less any compensation paid for the parking lot).

The law of inverse condemnation protects the government from cherry picking property without paying fair compensation for the economic situation that results.

Suppose instead that the state wanted to construct a two lane highway through the middle of a farmer’s cornfield.  In this case, the state likely would only have to pay the fair value of the land taken, assuming that the farmer could continue to farm on both sides of the highway after it has been built.

The Law of Inverse Condemnation is Complex – We Can Help You in Seeking Any Compensation to Which You May Be Entitled

When government projects such as roads and rail lines are constructed, many people – not just those who have land taken – may be impacted.  However, not everyone who is impacted will have a claim for inverse condemnation.

Once we understand your matter, we can advise as to whether we believe you will have a strong case for inverse condemnation.

We offer a free consultation, so please feel free to contact us so that we may learn about your situation.

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