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The Preeminent Domain

An Eminent Domain and Land Use Blog

Page: 3 of 6

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

Supreme Court Rejects Business’s Loss of Value Claim for Lost Street Access

Highway projects regularly change the access points that properties have to roads, and landowners believe (correctly or incorrectly) the change in the access affects the value of their business or property. Few can argue that access isn’t important to certain types of commercial uses. During construction of highway projects, the Department of Transportation (“DOT”) regularly obtains temporary limited easements (“TLE”) to complete the construction of its projects. However, the taking of the easement may not cause the loss of access.... Read More ›
January 15, 2015

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

Court of Appeals Allows Expert Testimony on Permit Issue and Bars Similar Sale Evidence

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals recently issued a decision permitting a DOT appraiser to testify that a landowner would have been required to obtain a new driveway access permit from the DOT to convert his property to a commercial use. This resulted in a lower value for the subject property. In the same ruling, the Court of Appeals barred the landowner from introducing evidence of what the DOT paid other nearby property owners for similar land. While the decision is... Read More ›
Justin Lessner
Justin Lessner
January 5, 2015

Uneconomic Remnant: One Circuit Court Judge’s View

As an eminent domain practitioner, the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision in Waller v. American Transmission Company last year left me…unsatisfied. Instead of acknowledging the statutory morass created by the legislature (incidentally, a morass acknowledged by both condemnors’ and landowners’ counsel), the majority decision ignores the procedural problems with the statutes and does nothing to make things easier for either landowners or condemnors. In my opinion, the problems with the decision relate more to the procedural aspects of asserting an uneconomic... Read More ›
Steve Streck
Steve Streck
September 10, 2014

No Compensation for Loss of Direct Access to a Controlled-Access Highway

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals recently held in an unpublished opinion that a property owner was not entitled to compensation when the Department of Transportation (“DOT”) removed its direct access to a controlled-access highway and replaced it with an alternate access. Hoffer Properties, LLC (“Hoffer”), owned property that abutted State Highway 19. The property had direct driveway access to this controlled-access highway. A controlled-access highway is a highway designed for high-speed traffic with all traffic flow and entrance and departure points regulated... Read More ›
July 16, 2014

Seizing Mortgages – New Cities Show Interest in Richmond’s Eminent Domain Plan

In a previous post, we discussed the city of Richmond, California, and its failure to get a supermajority vote to move forward with its plan to seize underwater mortgages through its eminent domain power. While it failed to pass the resolution, it sought other California cities, such as San Francisco, to join a joint powers authority to implement the plan. It appears that San Francisco is now considering joining Richmond’s joint powers authority as members of the San Francisco Board of... Read More ›
July 16, 2014