Federal Court of Claims Finds Government’s Denial of Permit to Fill Wetlands Constituted a Compensable Taking

LAW OF THE LAND

Lost Tree Village Corporation, the plaintiff, filed an application to fill wetlands for a plot of land approximately five acres in size. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied the application, and Lost Tree claimed “that the denial of that permit eliminated all economically viable use of the plot and constituted a taking in contravention of the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.” The court of appeals remanded the case to determine the loss of economic value in the plot as a result of the denial, and also to establish what standard to apply in order to determine if a compensable taking had occurred. It was undisputed that the plot had a nominal value, which was not reflective of any economic use, but with the permit to fill the wetlands the plot was “worth a substantial amount.”

On appeal, the court discussed the potential economic…

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