Here's the cert petition we filed today in an eminent domain case out of Mississippi.
Rather than go on about what the case is about, here are the Questions Presented:
An inverse condemnation jury determined the Mississippi Transportation Commission (MTC) ceased using a highway-purpose easement granted to it in 1952 by Petitioner’s predecessor-in-title for a specific bridge, “Toll Project No. 1,” the U.S. Highway 90 crossing of Bay St. Louis. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed the bridge. MTC removed Toll Project No. 1 and built an entirely new bridge in a different location, and converted the majority of Petitioner’s land into a public recreational park. This discontinued the specific use authorized by the easement, and Petitioner should have immediately recovered unencumbered possession. The jury determined MTC’s new uses were not highway purposes within the 1952 easement, and MTC had taken Petitioner’s property. The court, however, instructed the jury to calculate compensation as if Petitioner’s land was still encumbered by the 1952 highway-purpose easement. A Mississippi statute gives MTC the absolute discretion to formally abandon highway-purpose easements. Because MTC had not done so, the jury only awarded a nominal $500, and not $16 million—the value of the unencumbered land. The Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed, conflicting with the Federal Circuit and the Court of Federal Claims.
This petition presents two questions:1. Does the Just Compensation Clause prohibit a legislature from limiting how just compensation for a taking is calculated?2. Does the Just Compensation Clause allow the jury to value the fee interest taken as if it were still encumbered by the discontinued highway easement?Will there be more? We sure hope so. Stay tuned.