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The Preeminent Domain

An Eminent Domain and Land Use Blog

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

No Attorney Fees for Billboard Companies and Other Lessons Learned

DOT
On December 20, 2018, the court of appeals issued a new eminent domain decision in The Lamar Company LLC v. WisDOT. Substantively, the case is pretty narrow. The court of appeals upheld a lower court decision denying litigation expenses (attorney fees and costs) to a billboard company whose signs were taken for a WisDOT project. Attorneys who handle WisDOT condemnation matters are highly encouraged to read the decision. There is one interesting procedural issue and a lesson to be learned... Read More ›
Sara Beachy
Sara Beachy
January 18, 2019

Foxconn and Eminent Domain: Using Blighted Property Designations to Redevelop Land

This article was originally posted by the State Bar of Wisconsin. The Village of Mount Pleasant recently declared a large swath of land as “blighted” property, making way for the Foxconn development. In this article, attorney Sara Beachy explains blighted property law in the context of this project. The 2,800-acre, four square-mile future home of Foxconn has now been designated as “blighted.” The blighted zone, also designated as a redevelopment area, includes thriving farms and at least one family’s newly-built... Read More ›
Sara Beachy
Sara Beachy
July 23, 2018

2017 Wis. Act 243 Makes Costly Changes to Wisconsin’s Condemnation and Relocation Statutes

Co-authored by Attorney Micheal Hahn Governor Walker recently signed 2017 Wis. Act 243 into law, making the most significant changes to Wisconsin’s condemnation statutes in decades. Act 243, which took effect April 5, 2018, has been applauded by businesses who could be displaced by public projects. But the new law will be costly to taxpayers who have to pick up the tab. Below are the top five provisions in the new law: 1. Nearly Unlimited “Project Costs” for Business Relocations... Read More ›
Sara Beachy
Sara Beachy
April 16, 2018