Court Recognizes Reliance Interest in Federal Flood Control Projects

Ideker Farms, Inc. v. United States, 71 F.4th 964, 980 (Fed. Cir. 2023); Court of Federal Claims – Ideker Farms, Inc. v. United States, No. 14-183L, 2018 WL 1282417 (Fed. Cl. Mar. 13, 2018)

This case recognizes a reliance interest in flood protection from federal flood control projects, rejecting the net value analysis of St. Bernard Par. Gov’t v. United States, 887 F.3d 1354 (Fed. Cir. 2018). This arose on the Missouri River when the Corps changed the river management to protect endangered species. Owners of property that was worthless before the original flood control program sued when some of the property was flooded due to the change in river management. Under the net benefits test, they would not have a taking because the net value of the land was still higher. The court rejects that in favor of a sort of reliance test, saying that unless the original flood control project contemplated reflooding the land, reflooding is a taking.