30 August 2010

Takings in the Central Valley

Central valley farmers (Wolfsen et al.) have sued the US government for taking their water and land for environmental restoration ("an inverse condemnation").

Here's the 27 page brief [pdf].

(The Fresno Bee has three paragraphs on the suit. Budget cuts in the editorial office?)

Under the Fifth Amendment, they are entitled to "fair" compensation if they win.

But what's fair? The value they claim, the amount they paid for water, or their property tax assessment?

And I wonder if they'd take the money in exchange for their land.

1 comment:

  1. Since nothing has been taken yet, this looks to me like a lawyer getting some fees for telling clients what they want to hear. I can't imagine this won't get thrown out of court, with the recommendation that the plaintiffs come back when and if they have a real (not imagined) cause of action.
    Even worse, if they prevail and get some sort of settlement, what happens when they find out that the damage was far *greater* than they had guessed it would be? Unless the government are complete idiots (a big leap, to be sure), I would think that any present settlement would include some language making it final and definitive for the plaintiffs; so they'd be SOL on any second attempt.
    FWIW, it is a condition of the restoration settlement that "third parties" such as these are not damaged. Of course, the Indians were promised all sorts of things by their Great White Father, the Master Drain was supposed to be built, etc. But nobody yet has said this obligation will be ignored.

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