Here's the cert petition, recently filed in a case we've been following from South Dakota.
The statute at issue -- the federal Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Act -- isn't one that gets a lot of attention, particularly at the Supreme Court. But it's an area that is ripe for review. The issue in the case is whether a state may deny a property owner recovery of attorneys' fees for a successful inverse condemnation claim resulting from a federally-funded SDDOT highway project.
Here's the Question Presented:
Congress, in 1970, established a uniform policy for compensation of legal costs as the result of unconstitutional takings of real estate. Congress required all federal agencies to pay a successful Plaintiff ’s legal costs when a citizen’s constitutional property rights were vindicated in an inverse condemnation action.South Dakota refuses to comply with the policy Congress established. This Petition requests this Court require South Dakota to comply with the federal policy and to force South Dakota to honor its commitments.The Petitioners requested attorney fees and costs pursuant to the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Act of 1970, 42 U.S.C. §§ 4601-4655 and 49 C.F.R. § 24.107(c) (URA). The Act requires the federal government and all state governments receiving federal grants of money to pay successful inverse condemnation plaintiffs costs of litigation. The South Dakota Supreme Court decided that the Relocation Act’s requirements were not binding upon the State. The South Dakota holding is the only federal or state highest court decision that declares the Uniform Relocation Act’s requirements as permissive.Thus, the question presented is:1. Are the Petitioners entitled, as successful inverse condemnation claimants, to attorney fees and costs under the URA from a federally assisted state transportation agency?
Stay tuned, we'll keep following along. You can follow the docket report here.