Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

Asphalt Contractors, Inc. v. Alabama Department of Transportation

ELR Citation: 43 ELR 20270
Nos. 1101439, (Ala., 12/06/2013)

The Alabama Supreme Court held that a property owner may go forward with its inverse condemnation claim against the director of the state transportation agency for allowing contaminated water to be pumped onto the owner's land. Although the agency is immune from suit, valid inverse condemnation actions may be brought against state officials in their representative capacity. The agency and its director claimed that the owner did not state a valid inverse condemnation claim because it did not allege that the agency committed an actual physical taking of its property for public use; rather, the owner only claimed that the agency injured its property through the pumping of TCE-laden water onto its land. But the owner did allege that the agency appropriated the owner's property for public use. It alleged that the agency physically pumped chemically tainted water onto its property, used the property to help in the cleanup of TCE from area groundwater, and dumped at least a portion of the remaining water into the owner's wetland property. And the agency allegedly did all of this without initiating eminent-domain proceedings in order to use the owner's private property for public use. So, while the lower court erred in denying the agency's motion to dismiss, it did not err in allowing the suit to go forward as against the agency director.