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I own commercial property in Washington State. WSDOT drilled wells on my property without my permission, can I sue them?

Vancouver, WA |

WSDOT is widening the road where I own commercial property. They drilled a monitering well as well as at least 24 boring wells on my property without my permission. They purchased the property from me through eminent domain since the holes were drilled. Can I sue them because at the time that they drilled I did own the property and they never asked permission. I am still gathering all of the information for the quantity of holes/wells drilled, but have verified at least 22 sites.

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Attorney answers 2


If WSDOT bought the land from you on which the wells were previously drilled, normally WSDOT would be purchasing not just the land, but all claims of inverse condemnation and trespass. If those claims were not included in the purchase transaction with WSDOT, you would still technically own those claims under Hoover v. Pierce County.


Every lawsuit involves at least three elements - liability, damage and the ability to pay.

The question I would have is: what are your damages?

What are your out of pocket expenses related to the drilling of monitoring wells on your property?

Absent any serious out of pocket expenses, you would be entitled to "nominal damages" for the trespass - but that might not be worth the money expended trying to fight the state.

I am not a WA attorney, laws vary from state to state, therefore you should always consult a local attorney.

If this answer was helpful, please mark it as helpful or as a best answer. This answer is for general education purposes only. It neither creates an attorney-client relationship nor provides legal guidance or advice. The answer is based on the limited information provided and the answer might be different had additional information been provided. You should consult an attorney.