Here's one that just rolled in, from the Iowa Supreme Court. In Clarke County Reservoir Comm'n v. Edwin D. & Deloris A. Robins Revocable Trust, No. 14-0774 (Apr. 10, 2015), the court held that the Commission did not have the power of eminent domain because several of its members were private actors. The court also concluded that the post-judgment withdrawal of those members did not moot the property owner's appeal.
Property owners are entitled to strict compliance with legal requirements when a government entity wields the power of eminent domain. These legal requirements help protect against abuse of the eminent domain power. We strictly construe statutes delegating the power of eminent domain and note the absence of a clear legislative authorization for a joint public-private entity to condemn private property.For the reasons elaborated below, we hold a 28E commission with members lacking the power of eminent domain cannot itself exercise the power of eminent domain or serve as an acquiring agency seeking a declaratory judgment under section 6A.24(2). We determine the postjudgment withdrawal of the private members did not render this appeal moot because the district court erred by entering judgment in favor of an improper acquiring agency.
Slip op. at 203.
"Liberty requires accountability," noted the court, and "[a] contrary holding would effectively enable private entities to exercise eminent domain powers through a 28E entity. Private entities are not accountable to voters." Slip op. at 18.
The court sent the case back to the trial court, and one justice dissented because he found the remand unnecessary, and would have simply entered judgment for the property owner and made the Commission start over again, this time with no private members.
A good case, and one worth reading. But since this is the view out of our window on a mid-afternoon Friday, we're not going to be spending a whole lot of time now writing about the opinion.