Legal News

Supreme Court Scrutinizes Government Liability in Federally Created Floods
Download PDF
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading...

On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the degree of liability of the federal government and the extent to which it must pay damages for temporarily flooding downstream property owners when it releases water from a dam. The case that involves damage done to an Arkansas wildlife preserve brings focus upon the central question as to when, government activity that affects private property, requires payment to a landowner.

The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution makes it mandatory for governments to compensate owners of public property that it ‘takes’ for public purposes. Does temporary flooding in this case constitute ‘taking’ by the government? Given that the property owners had no option but to suffer damages to the property caused by government action, that was deliberate, though not malicious, should they receive compensation, and if so, then how much?

The instant case before the Supreme Court involved that of water released by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from the Clearwater Dam in Missouri causing the flooding of the Dave Donaldson Black River Wildlife Management Area, which is about 185 km downstream of the dam.

  
What
Where


The Arkansas Game & Fish Commission claimed that such releases of water from the Clearwater dam between 1993 and 1998 led to six years of flooding and the death or weakening of almost 18 million board feet of timber, making the task of operating the wildlife reserve extremely difficult.

Initially, a federal court of claims awarded $5.6 million for the lost timber and $176,428 to regenerate a forestry habitat. However, the award was overturned by the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, which said flooding was temporary, and did not require compensation as a ‘taking.’

Chief Justice John Roberts commented, “It’s a different case when they go in with the chainsaw than when they go in with the water.”

Get JD Journal in Your Mail

Subscribe to our FREE daily news alerts and get the latest updates on the most happening events in the legal, business, and celebrity world. You also get your daily dose of humor and entertainment!!




Justice Elena Kagan recused herself from the 9-judge panel, which, if tied 4-4, would leave the question effectively undecided.





 

RELEVANT JOBS

Senior Corporate Counselor - Remote

USA-NY-New York City

We are an innovative, intent-driven company that believes in building the future and we are looking ...

Apply now

Associate Attorney

USA-FL-Coral Gables

Job details Salary $52,000 - $75,000 a year Job Type Full-time Number of hires for th...

Apply now

Director, Legal & Government Affairs

USA-FL-Lakeland

  Director, Legal & Government Affairs Lakeland, FL CLICK HERE TO APPLY JOB SUMMARY...

Apply now

Attorney 0-3 Years Experience

USA-CA-Woodland Hills

San Fernando Valley Defense Firm seeks attorney with 0-3 years of workers\' compensation experience....

Apply now

BCG FEATURED JOB

Locations:

Keyword:



Search Now

Junior to Mid-level Investment Management Associate Attorney

USA-NY-New York City

New York City office of a BCG Attorney Search Top Ranked Law Firm seeks junior to mid-level investme...

Apply Now

Mid-level Debt Finance Associate Attorney

USA-CA-San Francisco

San Francisco office of a BCG Attorney Search Top Ranked Law Firm seeks mid-level debt finance-focus...

Apply Now

Senior Business and Corporate Law Attorney

USA-CA-Murrieta

Murrieta office of our client seeks a senior business and corporate law attorney with 3+ years of bu...

Apply Now

Most Popular

SEARCH IN ARCHIVE

To Top