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Lost Tree Village Corp. v. United States

ELR Citation: 44 ELR 20064
Nos. 08-117L, (Fed. Cl., 03/14/2014) (Lettow, J.)

The Federal Claims Court awarded a Florida developer $4 million after finding that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' denial of the developer's §404 permit request to dredge and fill a five-acre plot of land effected a compensable taking. The Federal Circuit had previously ruled on appeal that the five-acre plot was the relevant parcel for takings analysis. On remand, therefore, the claims court had to determine the economic loss of the permit denial and whether a compensable taking occurred. The record evidence shows the potential fair market value of the land with a §404 permit, reflecting its highest and best use, would be $4,245,387.93. The fair market value of the land without a permit is $27,500. The diminution in value is therefore $4,217,887.93, or approximately 99.4%. Such a diminution of value constitutes a categorical taking under Lucas. The court also held that an analysis under Penn Central leads to the same result, i.e., that a compensable taking occurred. The court therefore awarded the developer $4,217,887.93, plus interest.