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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Flooding Damages Did Not Constitute a "Taking"

The Sorrells filed a lawsuit against a developer of adjacent property and the City for damages resulting from flooding to the Sorrells property. In its third amended complaint against the City, the Sorrells alleged an "inverse condemnation" claim, arguing that the City's approval of the development plans was a "taking" of its property entitling them to money damages. The City filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the Sorrells did not state a claim for inverse condemnation. The court agreed, and dismissed the lawsuit in Sorrells v. City of Macomb, 2015 IL App (3d) 140763.

The court acknowledged that both the federal and state constitutions prohibit the taking of private property for public use without just compensation. The Illinois constitution provides greater protection than the federal constitution by also providing a remedy not only for a "taking" but also for government actions that "damage" private property. However, in order to prove an inverse condemnation action, a property owner must show that the cause of the damage was government action. In this case, the court determined that the flooding was induced by the private developers, from the overflow of detention and drainage basins, and not from any action by the City. As a result, the Sorrells takings claim was dismissed.

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf 


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