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Litigation Status Report
by John B. Ehret

On July 31, 2001 the U.S. Court of Federal Claims ordered that riparian owners along four miles of shore south of St. Joseph, Michigan should have sued the Government in 1989 after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed the sealing of the St. Joseph harbor piers with steel sheet piling. The plaintiffs had six years from 1989, under the Tucker Act Statute of Limitations to file suit for a 5th Amendment Taking of Private Property.

Plaintiffs will argue on appeal that the Army Corps of Engineers' Environmental Impact Statement [LTC Phillip P. Johnson, January 26, 1988], before the pile driving took place, said "no environmental impact" . The Corps' answers to interrogatories propounded by the plaintiffs were to the effect that there is no connection between lake bed lowering and steel sheet piling of the piers.

The court determined that the alleged taking is caused by a continuing process and that the takings claim accured in 1989 when the Corps finished putting steel sheet piling on the federal structures at St. Joseph which they had started in 1950.

How could plantiffs know? Only one way. Assume the environmental impact statements by the Corps are "inherently unbelieveable".

Another way to look at it is that if you see sheet piling going into a harbor upstream from your property, you have six years to sue for a 5th amendment taking of private property.

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