Lee and Tinie Causby bought 2.8 acres of land, intending to raise a chicken farm. The fact that the land was just one third of a mile from an airport didn’t concern them, as it was a small, municipal airport that was little used.
During world war 2 the United States government leased the airstrip and flew military aircraft from it, at all hours of the day and night. Depending on the wind direction, planes taking off or on final approach passed about 70 to 80 feet above the farm. Glare from aircraft lights, noise, and vibrations all upset causby and his family, causing them sleep deprivation, nervousness, and fear. it also panicked his livestock enough that they flew into the walls and died, Causby claims he lost over 150 chickens that way and that he couldn't use his property and a chicken farm anymore.
Causby sued the United States in the court of Claims. The court determined that the constant overflight by military aircraft constituted a fifth amendment taking and awarded causby $2000. The United States Supreme Court then granted the Government's cert petition