I just came across this interesting article.
The Federal government - 10 years ago! - flooded some private property "temporarily" and then didn't want to pay to have that property repaired. Because, after all, the flooding was only "temporary."
Well, gee whiz, the waters may recede but that doesn't mean the damage the water did just magically evaporates!
The sad thing about this is that this court case has been going on for 10 years. How much of our tax money has been going to these lawyers making probably $100 -$1000 an hour, for a case that could have been settled in a couple of hours ten years ago if they'd just used common sense! The amount of money they'd paid the lawyers in this time probably would have been enough to fix the water damage!
From Reuters: Supreme Court rules government may be liable for flooding
(Reuters) - The
Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that the federal government may be
required to pay damages when it releases water from a dam that causes
temporary flooding for a property owner downstream.
The case addressed the
politically charged issue of when government activity that affects
private property constitutes a "taking" that requires payment to a
landowner. Under the 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the
government must pay owners of private property that it takes for public
Writing for a unanimous
court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said temporary flooding of private
land by the government is "not categorically exempt" from liability
under the 5th Amendment's Takings Clause.
is "no solid grounding in precedent for setting flooding apart from all
other government intrusions on property," Ginsburg wrote.
Arkansas Game & Fish Commission, which operated the 23,000-acre
Dave Donaldson Black River Wildlife Management Area, had complained
about water releases by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from the
Clearwater Dam in Missouri, about 115 miles upstream.
claimed that releases between 1993 and 1998 led to six years of
flooding, causing the death or weakening of nearly 18 million board feet
of timber and making it harder to operate.
federal judge awarded $5.7 million for lost timber and to regenerate
forestry, but the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that
award in March 2011, saying the flooding was only temporary and required
had argued that the releases had only incidental consequences, and that
it had the right to balance the "benefits and burdens" of such releases,
which could also be used to protect crops or avert flooding in specific
The Supreme Court cautioned
that its ruling was not meant to "credit all, or even many, such
claims." Rather, lower courts would have to weigh numerous factors in
deciding whether to award landowners compensation for temporary
flooding, including the degree to which the damage was intended or
foreseeable, recurring or severe.
commission's appeal was supported by a variety of advocates for fish,
forestry and wildlife groups, as well as private property advocates.
Justice Elena Kagan recused herself from the case, likely because she
worked on the case in her former role as U.S. solicitor general.
The case is Arkansas Game & Fish Commission v. U.S., U.S. Supreme Court, No. 11-597.