Inverse Condemnation: What it Means for Public Water Agencies
Brad Kuhn spoke at the Association of California Water Agencies' (ACWA) Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Workshop on December 3, 2019 preceding ACWA's 2019 Fall Conference.
Brad moderated "Inverse Condemnation: What It Means for Public Water Agencies." The once-obscure legal doctrine of inverse condemnation has featured prominently in the center of the recent public debate over liability issues arising out of major wildfires disasters in California. However, all public entities in the State that construct or maintain public improvements, including public water agencies, may also find themselves subject to inverse condemnation claims for more routine incidents where private property is damaged as well. These inverse condemnation claims differ procedurally and substantively from negligence and other traditional tort claims. It is important for agencies to understand the legal risk and ensure that they have taken the appropriate steps towards addressing it. This presentation provided an overview of the legal doctrine of inverse condemnation, how claims under the doctrine often arise for water agencies, and different strategies for managing the risk, including through appropriate insurance coverage.