Is the Government Responsible for the Environmental Contamination of Your Private Property?

When is Environmental Contamination a Federal Taking? 

You may have a takings claim for environmental contamination if the federal government made your property unusable or less valuable because of toxic pollution.  

Groundwater contamination is a good example of this type of taking. You may have a takings claim if the federal government stores or dumps something toxic nearby and those chemicals get into your groundwater or soil. This type of situation may constitute inverse condemnation.  

Inverse condemnation is when the federal government takes the use of private property but does not compensate the property owner. 

Example of Environmental Contamination as Inverse Condemnation

The Foote Mineral Co. Superfund Site in Chester County, Pennsylvania is an example of how environmental contamination can lead to a Federal Taking claim. In this case, the government used unsafe disposal practices for hazardous materials. This contamination spread to nearby properties and polluted the soil and groundwater.  

The property owners sued, claiming that the contamination resulted in a taking of their nearby land because the soil and water were no longer safe. Unfortunately, the Court of Federal Claims ruled that the property owners waited too long to bring a takings claim against the federal government. That’s why it is so important to talk with a lawyer right away. These cases can have strict deadlines. The landowners near the superfund site lost because they ran out of time. 

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How We Can Help with an Environmental Contamination Takings Claim

If the ​federal government did something that contaminated your privately owned property, you may have a federal takings claim. These types of cases are usually complicated, so you will need an attorney to represent you. The lawyers at mctlaw can help you seek the highest compensation possible for environmental contamination. 

Takings Lawsuits Filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims 

Our attorneys practice in the US Court of Federal Claims, which has ​nationwide jurisdiction over takings claims against the federal government. The purpose of this court is to decide claims against the federal government.  The Court of Federal Claims, unlike local federal district courts, only hears claims against the federal government. It does not decide criminal cases, lawsuits between companies and individuals, or lawsuits against state or local governments. This allows the United States Court of Federal Claims to focus on and have an expertise in federal takings cases unmatched by any other court.​

For more than two decades, mctlaw has been extremely active in the United States Court of Federal Claims, continuously representing clients before the Court, working on advisory panels of the Court, and serving in leadership of the Court’s Bar Association. 

Sources

  • Frazer/Exton Development, L.P. v. United States, 809 Fed.Appx. 866 (2020) 

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