Newsletter Signup

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

The Preeminent Domain

An Eminent Domain and Land Use Blog

Author: Michelle Martin

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

Before the Border Wall is Built the Government Needs a Place to Build It

One of President Donald J. Trump’s campaign promises was to build a wall on the U.S./Mexico border.  He promised that it would be built quickly and that Mexico would pay for it.  When most people think of the costs to build the Border Wall, they think of the costs of the construction, such as the labor and materials.  What they do not think of, however, is the cost associated with acquiring the land needed for the Border Wall.  Not only... Read More ›
Michelle Martin
Michelle Martin
October 31, 2017

Special Benefits: One Phrase, Two Meanings

Special benefits under the law are addressed in two contexts – actions involving just compensation under the eminent domain statutes (Wis. Stat. Ch. 32) and actions involving special assessments under Wis. Stat. Ch. 66. Under eminent domain law, if the landowner’s property has received a “special benefit” as a result of the public improvement, the amount of the special benefit offsets the amount of just compensation the condemnor must pay. Separately, municipalities may levy a special assessment on property benefitted... Read More ›
Michelle Martin
Michelle Martin
February 10, 2017

“Controlled-Access Highway” Allows the DOT to Control More Than Just the Highway

This article is co-authored by Attorneys Michelle Martin and Sara Beachy. The Wisconsin Supreme Court recently decided Hoffer Properties, LLC v. State of Wisconsin, Department of Transportation, a case involving the elimination of a property’s direct access points to a controlled-access highway.  In Hoffer, the Wisconsin DOT took two actions: (1) eliminated Hoffer’s direct access to State Trunk Highway 19 in Jefferson County, Wisconsin; and (2) acquired a portion of Hoffer’s property to extend a road to be able to... Read More ›

Raising Issues of Statutory Compliance…And No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

What happens when a condemnor offers to pay more for a taking than its appraiser found for damages? Most landowners would be pleased. In this case, the landowner apparently was not, claiming the condemnor failed to base its jurisdictional offer on the appraisal amount because the offer was higher than the appraisal. Thus, the argument was that the condemnor failed to follow the statutory requirement to provide an appraisal upon which the jurisdictional offer is based. The Court of Appeals... Read More ›
Michelle Martin
Michelle Martin
January 5, 2015

Takings Cannot Be Too Large or Too Small: They Must Be “Just Right”

The blog www.inversecondemnation.com recently posted an article explaining the Utah Supreme Court, in Utah Dep’t of Transportation v. Carlson, No. 20120414 (June 24, 2014), addressed the issue of whether or not the Utah DOT could take excess land in order to avoid a dispute regarding severance damages. In that case, the Utah DOT took all 15 acres from the landowner, even though it only needed 1.2 acres for the road project. While the Utah Supreme Court agreed with the trial... Read More ›
Michelle Martin
Michelle Martin
July 7, 2014

If a Permit Condition Is Not a Compensable Taking, It Is Constitutional

It is a natural assumption that if a municipality is going to impose conditions on the granting of a building permit that the conditions must be reasonably related to the permit or else the conditions are not constitutional. But, a California court has held that if the condition that is being imposed does not unconstitutionally take something from the landowner, then it does not matter if the condition is reasonably related to the permit or not. In Powell v. County... Read More ›
Michelle Martin
Michelle Martin
February 21, 2014