August 13th, 2020 — By — In News & Events
OCA Files Amicus Brief in Wisconsin Eminent Domain Case Involving Highway Department’s “Jurisdictional Offer”
OCA recently filed an Amicus Brief on behalf of Christus Church in the state of Wisconsin. The brief addresses important issues arising out of a pre-litigation “jurisdictional” offer made to the Church by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation that contained compensation for severance damages to the Church’s remaining property caused by highway proximity, even though the Department’s underlying appraisal found that there were no severance damages.
OCA’s Amicus Brief specifically addresses the applicable standard when construing eminent domain statutes; the proper statutory construction of the Wisconsin statutes at issue; the extraordinary power of eminent domain and why special rules are needed to level the playing field between condemnors and condemnees; the importance of properly ascertaining and determining severance damages in a partial taking case in order to reach overall just compensation; and the duty of the condemnor to make proper and supportable pre-litigation offers, particularly when they become the basis of later determinations, such as whether the landowner should be reimbursed attorney fees incurred in defending the eminent domain case. To view a copy of OCA’s Amicus Brief, click here.