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 Maglio Christopher & Toale, P.A. represent property owners, businesses, ranchers, and anyone else who is a victim of a federal taking that goes uncompensated. You have the right to demand payment and our attorneys can help you litigate your claim.
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” a parcel of land to build a highway, power lines, a railroad, or even a public park on that land.
A taking does not always involve land. It can also apply to physical property, water and air rights, trade secrets, contracts, and business.
Getting Just Compensation
Maglio Christopher & Toale’s attorneys fight to make sure the federal government pays you fairly for what they’ve taken. At the core of our legal argument is your constitutional rights under the Fifth Amendment.
- The Takings Clause of the US Constitution gives the government the right to take ownership of private property for public use.
- The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution is also known as the “Just Compensation Clause” and it says private owners must be paid “just compensation,” or fair market value for property in a government taking.
- The U.S. Supreme Court has defined fair market value as the most probable price that a willing buyer would pay.
Physical Takings of Property
The Just Compensation Clause provides protections to physical seizures of real property. Examples of physical takings are when the government seizes a portion of a property owner’s land to widen a highway or create a public recreational trail. Sometimes the taking is more controversial, like when land is seized from one private owner and given to another private owner for the “economic development” of a community.
Regulatory Takings of Property
Regulatory takings happen when government rules and regulations make it impossible for owners to have an economically viable use or value in their property. 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.
Typically courts will rule that an action is not a taking if the government’s regulations are meant to protect the environment, or public health and safety. However, in deciding a takings case, the courts also look at how much the government’s action interferes with the reasonable, investment-backed expectations of the property owner.
Takings Lawsuits are Filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims
Our attorneys practice in the US Court of Federal Claims, which has exclusive 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.
Our Legal Experience in the Court of Federal Claims
Very few attorneys in the United States work in the Court of Federal Claims regularly. The lawyers at Maglio Christopher & Toale, P. A. are admitted to practice in this Court. Over the past 20 years, the Firm has successfully represented hundreds of clients in cases before the Court of Federal Claims, recovering hundreds of millions of dollars on their behalf.
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Christina E. Unkel
William G. Christopher