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Welty v. United States

ELR Citation: 49 ELR 20105
Nos. 2018-1558, (Fed. Cir., 06/14/2019)

The Federal Circuit affirmed a dismissal of landowners' lawsuit against the government for flooding that resulted when a federal land conservation program induced an adjacent landowner to build and maintain a levee. The landowners argued that the flooding, which rendered their land unfit for cultivation, amounted to a taking and thus that the government owed them just compensation. A lower court determined the landowners had failed to demonstrate that the government, as opposed to the adjacent landowner, was responsible for the flooding, and thus dismissed the suit. The appellate court found that the financial assistance USDA provided for the conservation program was not sufficient on its own to show that the adjacent landowner's construction and maintenance of his levee was the product of government coercion, and that the landowners failed to demonstrate that the flooding was a direct and intended result of the government's actions. The court therefore affirmed dismissal.