Opinion:Rocket Properties v. LaFortune, 2022 OK 5
Subject matter:Condemnation; GTCA
Date Decided:January 18, 2022
Trial Court:District Court of Tulsa County; Judge LaFortune
Route to this Court:An original proceeding on a Petition for Writ of Prohibition brought pursuant to OKSCT Rules 1.190 and 1.191. 
Facts:Rocket Properties owns 4.5 acres of land in Tulsa and claims that the City of Tulsa, by using the property as storm drainage and collection area for adjacent storm water runoff, has converted the property to public use without just compensation. The City, in the 1970s, designated a portion of the property to lie within a Tulsa County regulatory floodplain despite the fact that the federal government (FEMA) does not recognize the property to have stormwater management ramifications. Rocket claims that the City has failed or refused to exercise timely, reasonable periodic review of the propriety and reasonableness of its imposition of an outdated, obsolete, unnecessary floodplain designation on the property, especially in light of the vast, extensive urbanization of the area and the stormwater management infrastructure that has been put in place over the last 40 years. The City of Tulsa moved for summary judgment on the grounds that Rocket had failed to comply with the GTCA and, as a result, the trial court lacked jurisdiction. The trial court agreed and granted Tulsa’s Motion for Summary Judgment. Rocket filed a Writ of Prohibition seeking in order prohibiting the enforcement of the trial court’s order granting summary judgment. 
Standard of Review:Not specified. 
Analysis:If the government does not institute condemnation proceedings, the property owner has the right to file an inverse condemnation proceeding. As has been the law in Oklahoma since Oklahoma City v. Wells, 1939 OK 62, condemnation proceedings do not involve a tort.Condemnation proceedings are not civil actions, not actions at law, nor suits in equity. Rather, they are special proceedings strictly controlled by statutes and the constitution. While it is clear that the Legislature in 2014 amended the definition of a “tort” in 51 O.S. § 152(14) to include violations of statute and the Constitution of the State of Oklahoma with the intent to broaden the scope of governmental immunity under the GTCA, condemnation proceedings do not involve a tort. Therefore, an inverse condemnation claim does not constitute a “tort” under the GTCA and is not subject to the GTCA. 
Outcome:Writ of Prohibition issued. 
Vote:All Justices concur. 
Other: Rocket also filed (most likely prematurely but as a precaution) a Petition in Error in SC 120017. The Petition in Error was filed after the trial court issued its written order granting summary judgment,  but before a Journal Entry was filed (which said order directed be prepared by the City of Tulsa). Rocket was also unsure whether the order granting summary judgment was intended to be a final order or an interlocutory order since Rocket had also pled a claim for declaratory judgment which didn’t appear to be addressed in the order granting summary judgment. A few days after the Journal Entry was filed, Rocket filed a Motion for New Trial.Rocket also filed notice of a challenge to the constitutionality of a statute with the Oklahoma Attorney General pursuant to 12 O.S. § 2024(D).