In approximately 2009, Defendant, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, built a fence on land in Hidalgo County, Texas located along the border between Mexico and the United States. The border fence, a concrete structure about 13 feet tall with long steel bollards installed on top of the concrete base, was built for flood control of flows from the Rio Grande River and border security purposes. Six owners of land on which the fence was constructed, Gerald E. Bell and five other landowners (collectively “Bell”), brought an inverse condemnation lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, claiming that the fence exceeds the scope of the flood control easements held by the United States.
In 2004, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded Weston/Bean Joint Venture a contract to dredge the Miami River channel. That channel was originally created between 1931 and 1933, and has not been dredged since. Under the contract, Weston agreed to remove and dispose of contaminated sediment, and to be paid based on a price per cubic yard of dredged material. Once the work began, Weston discovered that the materials to be dredged included significant quantities of rock. Weston claimed that although the contract was for “maintenance dredging” and disposal of “sediments,” it was entirely outside the contract to require Weston to dredge and dispose of rock.