Federal Taking Litigation - Constitution "We the People"

Federal Takings Litigation

Filing a Federal Takings Lawsuit

If the federal government takes your property, the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution clearly states that you are entitled to fair compensation. The attorneys at mctlaw represent property owners, businesses, ranchers, tribes, and anyone else who is a victim of uncompensated seizure by the federal. You have the right to demand payment and our attorneys can help you litigate your claim.

“…nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation”

– Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution

What is a Federal Taking?

A “taking” is another way of describing when the government “takes” land or property from a private owner. An example is when the federal government “condemns” privately owned land to build a highway, power lines, a railroad, or even a public park.

A taking does not always involve land. It can apply to physical property, water and air rights, trade secrets, contracts, and business.

Railroad tracks converted to trails

Rails to trails Conversions

Our Attorneys Review Takings Cases Related To:

Rails to Trails Conversions

Property Takings 

Section 404 Permit Denials

Water Rights

Grazing Rights

Physical Takings

Physical takings are when the government physically takes your property and prevents you from using it. An example is when the government takes a portion of your property to turn it into a road. Another example is when the government physically makes your land unusable, by dumping toxic waste on it or by flooding the property by releasing water from a dam upstream. 

Physical takings can include: 

  • Land seizure
  • Flooding
  • Government not vacating property after a lease expires
  • Limiting access to property
  • Lack of ground support at the property
  • Rails to trails conversions

As the owner,  you are guaranteed certain rights regarding your property, and if these rights are infringed upon by the government, you have the right to compensation.

Regulatory Takings

Regulatory takings include situations where the government’s regulations make it so you can’t use your property to its highest economic benefit. This kind of “taking” is not physical since the owner keeps the title to their property. However, the government has taken away the owner’s ability to use their property.

Regulatory takings can include: 

  • Inverse condemnation 
  • Permit denials
  • Wetland regulations impacting your ability to use your property

In deciding a takings case, the courts will look at how much the government’s action interferes with the reasonable, investment-backed expectations of the property owner.

Constitutional Rights Under the Fifth Amendment

  • The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution is also known as the “Just Compensation Clause” and it says private owners must be paid for their property in a government taking.
  • The Takings Clause of the US Constitution gives the government the right to take ownership of private property for public use.


Just compensation means that the property owner is within their constitutional rights to be paid the fair market value that a willing buyer would reasonably pay for their property. This ensures that the government is able to take land for public use, as long as property owners are compensated appropriately for their property.


When the government takes private property to use, the use of the property must be for public benefit and purpose. Generally, this is considered to be a use that will benefit the lives of people who live, work, or visit the area. These purposes can include improvements such as: roads, railroads, canals, bridges, new schools, hospitals, libraries, and power facilities.


Our attorneys practice in the US Court of Federal Claims, which has jurisdiction over takings claims against the federal government in excess of $10,000. The Court of Federal Claims is located in Washington, D.C., and consists of judges appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate to serve for terms of fifteen years. 

The Court of Federal Claims is a court of national jurisdiction and can hear cases that originate anywhere in the country. To make it easier for those involved, Court of Federal Claims judges may hold trials at local courthouses nearer to where the disputes arise.

Very few attorneys in the United States work in the Court of Federal Claims regularly.  Over the past 20 years, the attorneys at mctlaw have successfully represented hundreds of clients in the Court of Federal Claims, recovering hundreds of millions of dollars on their behalf. 


We offer free consultations to help find out if you have a claim. Takings cases are extremely complex, so a talk with our legal team can help you know about your legal options for compensation.

MCTLaw Attorney Talis Abolins

Talis Abolins

Seattle, WA

Altom Maglio Headshot

Altom Maglio

Managing Partner
Sarasota, FL

Pamela Levinson Attorney mctlaw

Pamela Levinson

Sarasota, FL

Content Reviewed by Pamela Levinson – Government Contracts Lawyer

Pamela Levinson Attorney mctlaw

Pamela Levinson is an experienced attorney with a background in complex business litigation,  investigations, and compliance. She is admitted to practice in Florida and the District of Columbia. Pamela currently focuses her law practice on construction law, and government contracts litigation, and represents Indian tribes in federal litigation. Her extensive background includes complex commercial litigation, class-action, contracts, national security, civil and criminal investigative matters, and patents, among other areas. Pamela received her J.D. summa cum laude, graduating first in her class from the University of Miami in Florida.

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