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Monday, March 25, 2013

Just Compensation Does Not Include Future Improvements

Extensive flooding on a parcel of land reduced its value from $54,411 to $15,137.  The owners received a grant of $28,200 from FEMA to partially compensate for the loss in property value.  Shortly after the flood, the City made an offer to purchase the property from the owners to use it for drainage purposes, but the parties were not able to reach agreement. The owners applied for another grant to fund renovations to their property, this time from the County Health Department.  The City contacted the County and directed that the grant application not be further processed. Shortly thereafter, the City filed a condemnation action to acquire the property, and the parties agreed to settle the condemnation action for $13,500. 
The owners then filed suit against the City in federal court, claiming that the City's interference with its grant application violated their due process rights. The district court dismissed the suit, and the owners appealed to the Seventh Circuit. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, finding that the owners had already received just compensation for their property based on the valuation as of the date of the filing of the condemnation complaint. Consequently, the owners were not due any compensation for future improvements they were planning to make to their property if they received the grant, and they received all that they were entitled to under Illinois law.  Cary v. City of Watseka (March 15, 2013 unpublished opinion).
Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf, Ancel Glink


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