The glory that was Greece,
And the grandeur that was Rome.
-Edgar Allan Poe
Inverse condemnation in California allows you to sue the government if the government damaged your property.
Here are the specifics.
Inverse Condemnation Law
California Constitution article I, section 19, reads “[p]rivate property may be taken or damaged for a public use and only when just compensation…has first been paid to…the owner.”
In other words, if the California government damaged your property “for a public use,” then it owes you money.
Inverse Condemnation Elements
You need to prove 2 things: 1) that the California government took or damaged your property (e.g. a fire started by county employees burned your home); and 2) that the intended behavior was for public use (e.g. the fire was a controlled burn intended to clear a public park). At that point you can demand “just compensation” from the government.
Of course things are never that simple. The tricky part is showing that the behavior was intended to be for “public use.” And you must show that government “substantially participated” in the intended behavior.
Inverse Condemnation Benefits
There are several benefits: 1) you do not need to file a Government Claim, which I discuss here – How to file a claim against the City of San Diego; 2) your burden of proof is lower than negligence because you do not need to prove foreseeability; and 3) attorney’s fees and expert costs are recoverable under Code of Civil Procedure 1036.
This area of law is complicated, but speak to a San Diego Property Damage Attorney about your rights.
Questions? Contact Me for a free consultation.