When Permit Denials become Federal Takings Claims

When can a Permit Denial be a Federal Taking?

A property owner cannot dredge or fill in westland areas on their property without a 404 permit from the federal government. If the permit is denied, it can have significant impacts on the use of the property. These impacts include: economic loss, lack of development rights, and limits potential uses of the property.

Koontz v. St John’s River Water Management

In this case, Koontz applied for a permit to develop his land, but that permit came with the condition that the remaining, undeveloped land must be turned over to the government for a conservation area. In addition, Koontz would be responsible for making improvements on the surrounding areas. These improvements would have included turning nearly 75% of Koontz’s property into a conservation easement- require that Koontz personally hire contractors to make improvements to unrelated public land several miles away. The permit was denied because Koontz agreed to turn over the land, but not to improve government property somewhere else.

The Supreme Court’s opinion stated: 

“the government may not conditionally approve land-use permits unless the conditions are connected to the land use and approximately proportional to the effects of the proposed land use. This standard even applies when the government does not approve the permit but instead demands that the condition be met before granting the permit.”

What this means is that the government cannot set certain conditions for receiving a permit that are disproportionate to the amount of environmental damage caused. Requiring that Koontz either turn 75% of his land into a conservation area, or requiring him to improve public land several miles away was a disproportionate condition for getting the 404 permit.

mctlaw conference room


Find Out If You Have a Claim

Takings Lawsuits are 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 the Court of Federal Claims 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 and 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. 

The Court of Federal Claims hears many takings cases, but they can also be filed in local Federal District Courts.

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


Contact Us Now

My experience with mctlaw for my hip claim was remarkable, I found the communication to be outstanding. I also felt they did an excellent job setting expectations and then delivering on those stated expectations. From net amount, timing of the settlement, how much each related party would receive etc. they were outstanding. I would highly recommend them. They are very professional and set the bar in vaccine injury practice.


Five stars for mctlaw! Paralegal Leslie Williams did an outstanding job communicating with us and keeping us informed. Thanks for all the help.


I am excited to be receiving my final payment so I can put all this behind me. I am really grateful to everyone who played a part in getting me this well deserved settlement as my life has been negatively impacted over the years.


We cannot thank you enough for the services your firm has provided for Marie and I in our time of need. I could not have chosen a finer firm near or far to represent us.

John and Marie (Last Name Withheld for Privacy)

My first response is “Wow!” It has only been 11 months since I first heard of “SIRVA” and an HHS program that awarded compensation to its victims and only 7 months since MC&T accepted my case. I feel that your efforts on my part made all the difference.

A. Stoneburner

Thanks to you I am living comfortably in my own home with assistance. After my devastating GBS diagnosis from the flu vaccine six years ago, I didn’t know what to do. Thank goodness I found you and your law firm. Thank you so much!

Name Withheld for Privacy

Alison is a phenomenal attorney… When she put together the demand letter she was able to explain what I had been through and how I had felt… I want to thank your firm but personally thank all that had a hand in resolving my case.

Name Withheld for Privacy

The past 10 months have been a whirlwind to say the least but we are truly thankful, grateful and appreciative of …all you have done for our family. This is truly life changing for us. The weight that this lifts off of our shoulders and the peace of mind it will give us….its priceless. So again, thank you.

Name Withheld for Privacy of a Minor Child

Thank you so much. It was so nice to deal with someone who treated us with respect and had a true interest in our future. This would not have happened without your hard work. Please tell anyone who helped with this that we truly appreciate it.

Martin (Last Name Withheld)

I am so grateful for all of your time and tireless work that you have put into resolving my case. Most sincere thanks.


I just wanted to thank you for your help over the past 3 years…Thank you for negotiating with the DOJ in order to get as much as we could under the circumstance…It has been a pleasure having you and your wonderful staff here to assist me in this long and tedious effort.

Name Withheld for Privacy

Thank you for all of your efforts all along to help resolve lifelong issues I will always have due to this defective implant. You have held my hand through a lot and each and everyone of you at MCT are appreciated for all of your efforts.

Name Withheld for Privacy

Mr. Maglio, I want you to know the appreciation I have for Diana Stadelnikas and her team for the effort they have put into my wife’s claim! The settlement negotiation they achieved (in a very frustrating situation) is outstanding! While there’s a way to go yet, I want to assure you will they have my full confidence and gratitude to the finish! I know you must be proud of your people!


I thank you so much for your diligent and hard work on my behalf. You are a thoroughly professional and pleasant person and I am grateful for having you on my case.

Susan M.