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First English Evangelical Lutheran Church v. County of Los Angeles

United States Supreme Court
482 U.S. 304 (1987)


In 1957, First English Evangelical Lutheran Church (Church) (plaintiff) purchased a parcel of land and began operating a campsite known as Lutherglen. The area was susceptible to flooding and, in July 1977, a storm caused extensive flooding and damage to the buildings on Lutherglen. The County of Los Angeles (County) (defendant) created an interim flood protection area encompassing Lutherglen. Through adoption of Interim Ordinance No. 11,855 (Ordinance) in January 1979, the County prohibited anyone from placing any buildings or structures within the interim flood protection area. The Church brought suit, claiming that the Ordinance essentially constituted a regulatory taking because it prevented all use of Lutherglen, and seeking a remedy in inverse condemnation. The California Supreme Court ruled that a remedy in inverse condemnation was unavailable to the Church, and that the Church must challenge the ordinance in a suit for declaratory relief or mandamus. The California Court of Appeal affirmed.

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