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Determining cost and liability for inverse condemnation

On Behalf of | Apr 14, 2022 | Inverse Condemnation

Inverse condemnation is an illegal process in which a state or federal government takes away a person’s private property without proper compensation. The 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution allows the seizure of private property in exchange for just compensation. A court in California decides who is responsible for recovering the costs of inverse condemnation.

The purpose of inverse condemnation

A property owner can sue to recover the losses from an inverse condemnation. The plaintiff can sue for the repairs or replacements of property that is stolen or damaged. The action is inverse because the plaintiff, which is usually the government, becomes the defendant that is being sued by the private property owner.

The taking of property is related to the seizure of land and property. The property may be repossessed after its lease expires, seized after it becomes damaged in a flood or deprived of access due to illegal or immoral use. Some property is taken due to regulatory taking in which the severe regulations reduce the benefits of ownership.

Determining the extent of liability

Government entities and publicly owned or private, investor-owned utility companies are held responsible for providing compensation to plaintiffs who win their cases. Investor-owned utility companies that are found liable may have to recover costs through their ratepayers or shareholders, according to The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The CPUC has to determine that the costs charged to the ratepayers are just and reasonable.

The rights of individuals over governments

Inverse condemnation is the wrongful taking of property under the rule of eminent domain. The government fails to compensate a private property owner as required by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the US Constitution. Every individual has the right to sue the government or any public or privately owned company under California law.