Federal Takings Litigation
Filing a Federal Takings Lawsuit
If the federal government takes your property or land through the use of eminent domain or condemnation procedures, then the law clearly states that you are entitled to payment. The attorneys at Maglio Christopher & Toale, P.A. aggressively represent property owners, businesses, ranchers, and anyone else who is a victim of a federal taking that goes uncompensated or unfairly compensated. You have the right to demand compensation and our attorneys can help you file your claim.
What is a Federal Taking?
A “taking” is another way of describing an act of eminent domain when the government has a constitutional right to “take” land or property from a private owner for public use. 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 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 Consitution 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 claims against the federal government in excess of $10,000. The Court of Federal Claims is located in Washington, D.C., and consists of sixteen judges appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate to serve for terms of fifteen years. Despite its Washington, D.C. location, 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. All of the lawyers at Maglio Christopher & Toale, P. A. are admitted to practice in this Court. Over the past 15 years, the Firm has represented hundreds of clients in cases before the Court of Federal Claims.
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William G. Christopher
Christina E. Unkel
Jennifer Gore Maglio