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The Preeminent Domain

An Eminent Domain and Land Use Blog

Page: 2 of 6

The $267 Inverse Condemnation Claim

This is an odd case on several levels. The Wisconsin Court of Appeals’ decision on the law was entirely predictable. The odd thing is that the appeal was taken in the first place. The Village of Cross Plains took 703 square feet of Kenneth Ransom’s property to build a road. The award of damages was $6,650. Ransom appealed, claiming he was entitled to $11,300 in just compensation. The Village then apparently submitted an appraisal concluding that Ransom was actually entitled... Read More ›
Steve Streck
Steve Streck
April 28, 2016

Right-to-Work Law is an Unconstitutional Taking

On Saturday morning, April 9, 2016, I read the headline in the Wisconsin State Journal:  “Dane County Judge Strikes Down Right-to-Work Law.” I have to be honest: my first thought was that another out-of-control Dane County judge is running amok, taking his opportunity to stick it to the Walker administration before he retires form the bench on July 31. Could there be another explanation? After all, no right-to-work law has been struck down in any state where it has been enacted.... Read More ›
Steve Streck
Steve Streck
April 25, 2016

Update: Briefs Roll in Amid Murr v. State of Wisconsin SCOTUS Appeal

We’ve been watching Murr v. State of Wisconsin, a regulatory taking case involving a St. Croix River family cabin, closely since the Supreme Court of the United States accepted review. The briefs are now rolling in. As explained in a previous blog post, the issue in Murr is whether two small, adjacent residential lots may be treated as one combined property for purposes of evaluating whether a regulatory taking occurred. Because the Murrs could use and develop their two lots... Read More ›
Sara Beachy
Sara Beachy
April 20, 2016

“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 ›

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 Family Cabin Goes to the High Court

The U.S. Supreme Court Accepts Review of Murr v. State of Wisconsin A longer version of this blog entry appeared in the March 2016 issue of Inside Track. A family cabin on the shores of the St. Croix Scenic Riverway in Troy, Wisconsin, is making national news among eminent domain watchers. The Murr family purchased two adjacent riverfront lots in the 1960s. They built a family cabin on one of the lots and kept the other lot for retirement. Now,... Read More ›
Sara Beachy
Sara Beachy
February 19, 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