When a government regulation effectively prevents any practical use of a property, the property may be unlawfully "taken" and these types of "takings" claims are often referred to as regulatory taking claims or inverse condemnation claims. In land-use cases, the federal statute 42 U.S.C. § 1983 protects against municipal actions that violate a property owner's constitutional rights, including actions that violate a property owner's rights to due process, equal protection of laws and just compensation for the taking of property under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. Section 1983 is simply the mechanism to bring the action and does not create a separate claim - the underlying constitutional action must be proven. And if proven, the prevailing party may recover its attorneys' fees under 42 U.S.C. § 1988.
Section 1983 when applied to land use actions is an ever-developing area of the law. At the Law Office of Thomas Horn, Mr. Horn has defended and brought 1983 actions in the land use context.