Takings law seeks to prevent the government "from forcing some people alone to bear public burdens which, in all fairness and justice, should be borne by the public as a whole."
In almost every situation in which governmental conduct causes untoward impacts to private property, the government is liable for "taking" the private property under the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Takings litigation, therefore, is the principal manner for private citizens to secure the rights of private property from the government.
What is Inverse Condemnation?
Inverse condemnation is a term used in the law to describe a situation in which the government takes private property but fails to pay the compensation required by the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution. When this happens, the property's owner must sue the federal government in the United States Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C., to obtain the required just compensation.
The taking can be physical (e.g., land seizure, flooding, retention of possession after a lease to the government expires, deprivation of access, removal of ground support) or it can be a regulatory taking (when regulations are so onerous that they make the regulated property unusable by its owner for any reasonable or economically viable purpose).