Just Compensation for Private Property In Arizona
In Arizona, the government must pay just compensation when it takes or damages private property. Ariz. Const. art. 2, 17 ("No private property shall be taken or damaged for public or private use without just compensation.").
If the government has not filed a condemnation action to acquire the private property, the property owner's remedy is to sue for inverse eminent domain to recover the fair market value of the property interest taken or damaged. See Pima County v. Bilby, 87 Ariz. 366, 370, 351 P.2d 647, 649 (1960).
Unlike a condemnation action, a suit for inverse eminent domain is not governed by statutory requirements. to prevail, a plaintiff must prove a governmental entity constructed or developed a public improvement that substantially interfered with the plaintiff's property right. Maricopa County Mun. Water Conservation Dist. No. 1 v. Warford, 69 Ariz. 1, 11, 206 P.2d 1168, 1175 (1949) ("Any substantial interference, therefore with the rights over a physical object which destroys or lessens its value, or by which the use and enjoyment thereof by its owner is in any substantial degree abridged or destroyed, is both in law and in fact a 'taking' of property.").
The only element disputed here is whether the Farmers established, as a matter of law, that the District's flood control projects interfered with Farmers' property rights to the extent such interference should be considered a constitutional taking or damaging of their rights. See id.