Yearsley v. W. A. Ross Construction Co.,
309 U.S. 18 (1940)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Yearsley v. W. A. Ross Construction Co., 309 U.S. 18 (1940)

Yearsley v. W. A. Ross Construction Co.

No. 156

Argued January 3, 4, 1940

Decided January 29, 1940

309 U.S. 18


1. A contractor working for improvement of river navigation in conformity with a contract with the Government authorized by a valid Act of Congress, is not liable for injury resulting to private riparian land, even though what is so done amounts to a taking of property by the Government. P. 309 U. S. 20.

Where an agent or officer of the Government, purporting to act on its behalf, has been held to be liable for his conduct causing injury to another, the ground of liability has been found to be either that he exceeded his authority or that it was not validly conferred.

2. For a taking of private property in the course of authorized navigation improvement, the Government impliedly promises to pay just compensation, recoverable by suit against the United States in the Court of Claims. P. 309 U. S. 21.

Page 309 U. S. 19

3. The remedy thus afforded is plain and adequate, and satisfies the Fifth Amendment. Payment in advance of taking is not required by the Amendment. Pp. 309 U. S. 21-22.

103 F.2d 589 affirmed.

Certiorari, 308 U.S. 538, to review the reversal of a judgment recovered by the present petitioners in an action against the respondent for damages to their riparian lands.

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