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Mildenberger v. United States

ELR Citation: 41 ELR 20225
Nos. 2010-5084, (Fed. Cir., 06/30/2011)

The Federal Circuit upheld the dismissal of landowners' suit against the United States seeking compensation for the alleged taking of their riparian and upland property rights stemming from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers activities to control water levels in Lake Okeechobee. The landowners' takings claims are barred by the statute of limitations. The landowners filed suit in 2006 and, therefore, were required to demonstrate that they could not have reasonably known the facts fixing the government's alleged liability prior to 2000. But the Corps has released large volumes of polluted non-saline water from Lake Okeechobee into the St. Lucie River for almost 80 years and the environmental effects have been evident since the 1950s. In addition, the Corps' mitigation efforts could not resurrect the landowners' takings claims. And they failed to establish that Florida law recognizes compensable property interests in the riparian rights they allege were injured by the government.