You are currently viewing How to sue a city in California for inverse condemnation

Rank does not confer privilege or give power. It imposes responsibility.

-Peter Drucker

How to sue a city in California for inverse condemnation?

First, determine whether you have an inverse condemnation claim. Read this blog post: What is Inverse Condemnation in California?

Second, understand that the California Government Tort Claims Act is inapplicable, so don’t bother with those short deadlines and filing requirements. If you’re interested in that, however, read this blog post: How to file a claim against the City of San Diego.

Third, prepare your lawsuit against the California city (or California county, or even the State of California). Allege the elements of inverse condemnation: 1) ownership of private property; 2) agency substantial participation in a public project or public improvement; 3) taking or damaging of that private property; and 4) causation. Claim a right to attorney’s fees and costs under CCP § 1036. Make sure you file it before 3 years.

Fourth, serve the California city by serving the city clerk with the lawsuit. Here’s the authority for that procedure: CCP § 416.50

Questions? Contact Me for a free consultation.

Evan Walker

Evan W. Walker is a La Jolla attorney who has practiced law since 2008. He has practiced law throughout California, Connecticut, and Louisiana.

Evan worked for and defended insurance companies during the first 7 years of his practice. Since 2015, he has represented people with personal injury and property damage claims and insurance disputes.

Evan’s practice is devoted to serious personal injury claims and catastrophic property damage claims. Areas of focus include security claims against bars and other businesses, government tort claims, fire and flood claims, and inverse condemnation. On behalf of clients, Evan has fought insurance firms, international companies, cities, bars, and casinos.

Evan regularly shares his expertise with other attorneys by teaching courses on insurance and inverse condemnation. He has taught several continuing legal education courses to Attorney Credits, a nationwide CLE company, and ProLawCLE, another nationwide CLE company. He also contributes to various podcasts and publications.


  • Member, State Bar of California
  • Member, San Diego Bar Association
  • Member, Consumer Attorneys of California
  • Member, Consumer Attorneys of San Diego
  • Member, La Jolla Bar Association
  • Member, La Jolla Village Merchants Association
  • Member, San Diego Chamber of Commerce