Co-author: James B. Aird We’re circling back today to a May 2021 decision by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, United America, LLC v. Wisconsin Dep’t of Transportation, 2021 WI 44, 397 Wis. 2d 42, 959 N.W.2d 317. In that case, the court concluded that Wis. Stat. § 32.18 only requires compensation when a change in a road grade causes structural or physical damage to land. Mere loss in value is not compensable. United America operated a gas station on North Star... Read More ›
Wisconsin Supreme Court Restores Reason in Christus Lutheran Church of Appleton v. Wisconsin Department of Transportation
In prior posts, A New Wisconsin Court of Appeals Decision Leaves Condemnors Scratching Their Heads and Christus Lutheran Church of Appleton v. State Department of Transportation Update, we discussed the Court of Appeals’ disconcerting decision in Christus Lutheran Church of Appleton v. Wisconsin Department of Transportation. On April 1, 2021, the Wisconsin Supreme Court reversed that decision in its entirety. The DOT issued a jurisdictional offer to Christus Lutheran in an amount higher than its appraised damages and which contained... Read More ›
If a sports franchise wants to relocate, it must get the permission of its league. But, what happens when the city that it wants to leave objects? How far can a city go to keep its team? Can it use its eminent domain powers to acquire the team and keep it in the city? Maryland tried to use eminent domain in 1984 when it threatened to seize the Baltimore Colts to prevent the team from relocating to Indianapolis. This threat... Read More ›
Wisconsin’s adverse possession laws have changed significantly over the past fifty years. One of the biggest changes occurred in 2016 when the Wisconsin State Legislature enacted Wis. Stat. § 893.29(1). This statute prevents land held by Wisconsin’s state and local government entities from being adversely possessed. Notably, though, this statute does not affect title to or interest in property obtained on or before March 3, 2016. While seemingly straightforward, in cases where the period of adverse possession began before Wis.... Read More ›
The Wisconsin Supreme Court decided an eminent domain case, DSG Evergreen Family Limited Partnership v. Town of Perry, that addressed a Town’s duty to construct a replacement road when a taking removes access to the property. The Town of Perry condemned a portion of agricultural property belonging to the DSG Evergreen Family Limited Partnership that resulted in the property being left landlocked. To address that issue, the Town committed itself to building a replacement road over part of the acquired... Read More ›
This is an update to a previous post discussing the Court of Appeals’ decision in Christus Lutheran Church of Appleton v. State Department of Transportation. As expected, the State has filed a petition asking the Wisconsin Supreme Court to review the decision. You can read the State’s petition here. Several other condemnors moved for leave to appear as amici curiae and filed a brief in support of the State’s Petition for Review. You can see their amicus brief here. Axley... Read More ›
“I agree with you. But my appraiser doesn’t.” The Wisconsin Court of Appeals ended 2019 with a bang by eminent domain standards with a controversial decision in Christus Lutheran Church of Appleton v. State Department of Transportation. The case presents this question: can a condemnor ever offer a landowner too much compensation in a jurisdictional offer? According to the Christus Lutheran court, the answer is yes. Christus Lutheran is required reading for any lawyer who advises condemning authorities. Unfortunately, it’s... Read More ›
Axley attorney Sara Beachy is quoted in a recent article posted on Inside Track, discussing the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Knick v. Township of Scott, Pennsylvania. Knick paves the way for federal court claims in the area of eminent domain. Read the article here.
In a Turnabout, SCOTUS Now Says Federal Takings Claims are Ripe When the Government Fails to Compensate Property Owners
By Sara K. Beachy and Amy T. Harriman Overruling 34 years of precedent, the United States Supreme Court recently ruled that when the government takes private property without paying just compensation, the owner has an actionable claim under the federal Takings Clause at the time of the taking. In Knick v. Township of Scott, the Court overruled a 1985 decision, Williamson County Regional Planning Commission v. Hamilton Bank of Johnson City, which required owners to first seek compensation through state courts before filing... Read More ›
Property tax assessment law isn’t eminent domain, but it’s close enough that we stay abreast of it anyway. Check out this synopsis of a recent court of appeals case involving what constitutes an “agricultural use” for purposes of Wisconsin property tax law. You can read the whole case, Peter Ogden Family Trust of 2008 v. Bd. of Review for the Town of Delafield, here.