Inverse Condemnation/Regulatory Takings

Sometimes, the property of Tennessee landowners is devalued by the action of the government, governmental agency or a utility in circumstances where the condemning authority does not initiate any eminent domain case to attempt to pay the landowner. When real estate is devalued in those circumstances, a Tennessee landowner has the right to file an inverse condemnation lawsuit to recover damages. The Nashville inverse condemnation lawyers at Pepper Law, PLC handle inverse condemnation cases in Nashville and all other parts of Tennessee.

Inverse condemnation lawsuits may be successfully employed to recover money for landowners in a variety of cases, including, but not limited to, cases involving:

  • The closing of roads that provide access to property
  • The construction or re-design of roadways in a manner which negatively affects a landowner’s ability to ingress or to egress land
  • Construction or improvements on nearby or adjoining land which causes water diversion, flooding or other similar problems
  • Construction of facilities that create a nuisance as the result of noise, odor, or appearance
  • Refusal to approve a land plat for a subdivision
  • Enacting ordinances or zoning changes designed to prevent certain uses of property

Under Tennessee law, in order to be able to win an inverse condemnation lawsuit, a landowner must be able to prove at least the following:

  1. There must be a direct and substantial interference with the beneficial use and enjoyment of the land;
  2. the interference must be repeated, and not just occasional;
  3. the interference must peculiarly affect the land and must cause the land to lose market value.

Whether the interference by the condemning authority is substantial enough to constitute a taking for which a landowner is entitled to just compensation is usually a jury question. In Tennessee, a jury will also decide the amount of the compensation which should be paid to the landowner. The Nashville inverse condemnation lawyers at Pepper Law, PLC can help you obtain just compensation for a taking by inverse condemnation whether your case is in Nashville or any other part of Tennessee.

Under Tennessee law, there are two broad categories of governmental takings: physical occupation takings and nuisance takings. For nuisance takings, a landowner may prevail in an inverse condemnation lawsuit even where the landowner’s land has not been physically invaded. For example, the Supreme Court of Tennessee recognized that homeowners’ land had been inversely condemned by the construction of an airport runway extension that caused noise and vibration even though the planes landing on the runway extension were not flying directly over the homeowners’ homes.

If the taking was caused by an unintentional or negligent act of the governmental authority, or utility, a landowner cannot prevail on an inverse condemnation lawsuit, but may have other remedies. For example, where flooding is caused by some malfunction or deficiency in the system or infrastructure of the government, agency or utility, a landowner cannot successfully prevail on a claim of inverse condemnation. (If a utility or other agency, which has been bestowed with eminent domain powers, causes land to be devalued, it may well still be possible for a landowner to recover damages via a trespass or common law nuisance claim.)

Inverse condemnation claims are governed by a relatively short one -year statute of limitations. If you believe that you are entitled to just compensation because the government, governmental agency, or utility has interfered with your rights or caused a devaluation of your land, you should consult with an experienced eminent domain lawyer promptly.

Pepper Law, PLC will provide you with an initial consultation at no charge about your inverse condemnation case whether it is in Nashville, Tennessee, or any part of Middle, East or West Tennessee.