Case 26

United States v. 4.18 Acres of Land, 542 F.2d 786 (9th Cir. 1976).

The United States brought this action on behalf of the Forest Service to condemn 4.18 acres of land. The district court dismissed the suit because the United States had not complied, prior to commencing the condemnation action, with the regulations of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. The Forest Service then completed the Council's requirements, and defendants sought attorneys' fees under the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act. The district court denied the motion for fees.

The Ninth Circuit affirmed. The constitutional requirement of just compensation for the taking of land by condemnation does not include attorneys' fees, and a court may not grant such fees against the United States absent an authorizing statute. 542 F.2d at 788. The act in question did not require an award of fees. Id. at 789. [Ed. note: NHPA was amended in 1980 to provide for award of attorneys' fees and costs.]

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