Condemnation: Indiana Property Owners Entitled To Jury Trial To Determine Just Compensation

Monday, May 13, 2013 12:00 am
Land Use Law Report, Volume 41, Number 5

In Indiana, a de novo review of a condemnation assessment means a true de novo review--unlike most reviews of administrative decisions, which are usually given significant deference.

Facts: In 2002, the City of Fort Wayne, Indiana condemned a water and sewer system owned by Aqua Indiana, Utility Center, Inc. (Aqua Indiana). In 2004, the City’s Board of Public Works assessed damages of $14.76 million pursuant to an Indiana eminent domain statute for cities and towns. Aqua Indiana challenged the assessment, and though it eventually lost the appeal, the Board conducted a new appraisal and assessed damages of $16.91 million in 2007. Aqua Indiana challenged this assessment as well, appealing the assessment to the trial court and requesting a jury trial.

The City moved for partial summary judgment on the pleadings and moved to strike the jury trial request. The trial court granted both motions, explaining that its review on appeal was limited to the same record that was before the Board of Public Works. The Supreme Court of Indiana heard the[..]


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