Damage Awards as Public Policy in Inverse Condemnation Litigation

  • October 23, 1999
  • • Written by: Chester C. McGuire

Fall 1999, Vol 24, No 3

Abstract: Inverse condemnation occurs when a government body effectively takes private property without just compensation, usually by a regulatory process. This is referred to as a “regulatory taking” which can be litigated as an inverse condemnation. The number of landowners claiming regulatory takings has increased as the number of environmental and other regulations have proliferated over the past two decades. However, plaintiffs claiming inverse condemnation have not been especially successful in pressing these claims. Courts have been reluctant to award monetary damages, especially claims for lost profits from land developers. There are two reasons for this. First, the landmark cases defining the judicial remedies for regulatory takings have not centered on business issues. Second, plaintiffs have not usually made compelling arguments for lost profits.