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The Preeminent Domain

An Eminent Domain and Land Use Blog

Category: DOT

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

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

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

Loss in Value Caused by Police Power Not Recoverable

Compensation for police power acts is a hot issue in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin court of appeals recently affirmed an order excluding evidence of a significant loss in property value caused by a relocated access point. See North Mayfair, LLC v. Department of Transportation, No. 17AP256 (Wis. Ct. App. Feb. 13, 2018) (not recommended for publication). Depending on which expert you believe, the relocation of the access point caused the property to lose between $1 million and $2.5 million in value.... Read More ›
Sara Beachy
Sara Beachy
March 7, 2018

Eminent Domain Case Becomes A Cautionary Tale

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals released a decision January 7, 2016, in Biersdorf & Assoc. v. Goplin, App. No. 2015AP570. According to the decision, the case began as a fee dispute between the Biersdorf law firm and a former client. In reality, the case began as a routine eminent domain matter involving a DOT highway taking. However it began, it is now a cautionary tale about misjudging attorney fees at mediation, trying to back out of a mediated settlement, and... Read More ›
Sara Beachy
Sara Beachy
February 26, 2016

The DOT Made What Argument???

We have seen a lot of arguments that have left us scratching our heads, but one made by the DOT in a recent inverse condemnation case certainly ranks near the top of the list. In Somers USA, LLC v. Wisconsin Dep’t of Transportation, 2015 WI App 33, the DOT refused to compensate a landowner for taking its land for a highway project based on a scrivener’s error. The landowner recorded a survey known as a CSM stating it was “dedicating”... Read More ›
Justin Lessner
Justin Lessner
July 27, 2015

No Taking, No Compensation

Here is another decision reinforcing the concept that the DOT has to take something away from you before you are entitled to just compensation, and if something is, in fact, taken, the alleged loss has to be connected to what was taken. Our prior post here discussing the 118th Street Kenosha, LLC, v. Wisconsin Dept. of Trans. supports this proposition in a case involving lost highway access by a business. The landowner in this recent Wisconsin Court of Appeals decision, Anthony... Read More ›
Steve Streck
Steve Streck
May 18, 2015

Condemnation Litigation Expenses and WDOT…Again

Compared to most states, Wisconsin law is quite favorable to landowners in condemnation valuation litigation seeking to recover their litigation expenses. Landowners can recover all expenses – including reasonable attorney’s fees, appraisal, and engineering fees – if they recover at least 15% more than the highest amount offered by the condemnor, as long as the amount is also at least $700 more than the offer. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (“DOT”) is trying to change that statute…again. In 2008, in anticipation of... Read More ›
Steve Streck
Steve Streck
January 23, 2015