Condemnation Need Not Have A Proper Motive, So Long As It Has A Proper Purpose

Wednesday, June 05, 2013 12:00 am
Land Use Law Report, Volume 41, Number 6

Legislative immunity applied to municipal legislators who initiated a condemnation action, even though the condemnation may have had improper motives, because they recited a public purpose for the condemnation.

Facts: In 1995, Donald E. Sable II bought property in the City of Nichols Hill, Oklahoma (the City). The property occupied approximately two city blocks and was immediately north of a City water treatment plant. In 1997, the City sought to use a 33-foot-by-290-foot strip of land (the Strip) to expand its facility. The Strip was located between Sable’s property and the City’s, and recorded title belonged to the City. However, Sable’s predecessor in interest had enclosed the Strip with a fence in 1976 and Sable informed the City that it could not use the Strip because Sable’s predecessor in interest had acquired it by adverse possession and then passed title to Sable. The city council voted to move Sable’s fence and use the property anyway.

Sable then sued for quiet title to the Strip. The trial court granted summary judgment to the City, but the court of appeals reversed and remanded for rehearing. While the petition was pending for rehearing, the City began a condemnation action to condemn Sable[..]


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