In Haspel & Davis Milling & Planting Co., Ltd. v. Board of Commissioners of the Orleans Levee District, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed a grant of summary judgment in favor of plaintiffs on a takings claim. In 1984, the Louisiana Legislature ordered the Levee Board to return land expropriated to build the Bohemia Spillway to its former owners and to provide them with an accounting of all revenues received from the property. After the Levee Board failed to pay the landowners the mineral royalties that it had received on the affected property, the plaintiffs sued, arguing that the Levee Board’s continued collection of and failure to return royalties was an unconstitutional taking. After 12 years of litigation, the parties entered a settlement agreement that provided that the Levee Board would pay one lump sum to plaintiffs and then pay further as money was appropriated for that purpose. After the Levee Board failed to pay further, the plaintiffs filed suit in federal court in June 2006, arguing that the Levee Board’s failure to pay the terms of the settlement agreement was an unconstitutional taking. The district court agreed. The Fifth Circuit reversed, holding that because the landowners entered a "Settlement Agreement, the landowners compromised their takings claim against the Levee Board, and thus, extinguished any takings claim they may have had." Therefore, "the landowners’ only recourse is to enforce their rights under the Settlement Agreement and Consent Judgment." To read the full opinion, click here.