Border Property Owners Could Have Valuable Inverse Condemnation Claims Against the Border Patrol


There is an update to this post here

The United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit, determined in 2012 that the Border Patrol's placement of underground sensors on private San Diego property to track cross-border traffic was a permanent physical taking. This is an example of how property owners can use an inverse condemnation lawsuit to enforce their rights under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. 

The men and women of the United States Border Patrol have a difficult job to do. However, government agencies are not permitted to perform their jobs in a way that ignores basic civil liberties like the Fifth Amendment protection against taking of property without just compensation. The Court of Appeals determined that the placement of the underground sensors was, indeed, a taking.

It is important to note that, seemingly paradoxically, the Border Patrol wanted the Court to determine the taking was permanent rather than temporary because the amount of damages for which the Border Patrol was liable was less if the taking were permanent. However, the lesson of the Otay Mesa case is that physically invasive Border Patrol activities can constitute a taking for which property owners are owed compensation. If you believe the Border Patrol has physically invaded your property without compensating you, I can help you evaluate your possible claims.