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The Preeminent Domain

An Eminent Domain and Land Use Blog

Wisconsin Supreme Court Restores Reason in Christus Lutheran Church of Appleton v. Wisconsin Department of Transportation

DOT
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 ›
Michelle Martin
Michelle Martin
April 14, 2021

Throwing the Challenge Flag: Can States Use Eminent Domain to Keep Sports Teams from Moving?

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 ›
Michelle Martin
Michelle Martin
December 29, 2020

Under Some Circumstances, State-Owned Property Can Still Be Adversely Possessed

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 ›
Morgan Stippel
Morgan Stippel
October 2, 2020

Wisconsin Supreme Court Addresses Town’s Duty to Construct a Replacement Road in Takings Lawsuit

DOT
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 ›
Justin Lessner
Justin Lessner
March 27, 2020

Christus Lutheran Church of Appleton v. State Department of Transportation Update

DOT
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 ›
Sara Beachy
Sara Beachy
March 2, 2020

A New Wisconsin Court of Appeals Decision Leaves Condemnors Scratching Their Heads

DOT
“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 ›
Sara Beachy
Sara Beachy
January 8, 2020

U.S. Supreme Court: Fifth Amendment Takings Claims Can Skip State Court

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.
Sara Beachy
Sara Beachy
September 4, 2019

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 ›
Sara Beachy
Sara Beachy
July 3, 2019

Court Confirms Agricultural Land Tax Does Not Rest on Economic Activity

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.  
Sara Beachy
Sara Beachy
May 24, 2019

Wisconsin Court of Appeals Says No Taking, Even if Your Business Closes

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals decided an inverse condemnation case,  Aamaans Properties, Inc. v. Wisconsin Department of Transportation,1 on December 26, 2018. Aamaans Properties, Inc. (Aamaans) owned a property on State Trunk Highway 26 with a gas station and a McDonald’s. WisDOT relocated the highway, resulting in circuitous and inconvenient access to the property. The McDonald’s closed, and Aamaans lost the property in foreclosure. Aamaans sued WisDOT for inverse condemnation, claiming that the highway relocation was a taking requiring compensation.... Read More ›
Sara Beachy
Sara Beachy
February 1, 2019