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Dismissal of a Claim Against a Municipality for a de facto Taking of Property

Suzanne Fisher of C&W’s Philadelphia office secured a dismissal on behalf a municipality which was alleged to have appropriated personal property for its water management system in violation of Pennsylvania’s Eminent Domain Code. Plaintiff asserted that the Borough’s actions constituted a de facto taking when it developed its water management system in a manner which diverted excessive amounts of water onto the homeowner’s private property causing extensive flooding and permanent property damage. Plaintiff complained that the diversion of water and subsequent damage rendered the property uninhabitable and forced the homeowner to relocate. It was argued further that multiple state and local ordinances were violated. Plaintiff sought compensation equal to the pre-damaged market value of the property, reimbursement of all monies expended to improve the property and all trial costs. After an extended trial on the issues, Ms. Fisher successfully proved that Plaintiff’s claim failed to satisfy the requisite elements of a claim for a de facto taking. On August 4, 2014, the Court found in favor of the Borough and dismissed the Plaintiff’s claim in its entirety with prejudice.