1. introduction: the power of legislature to allocate wealth

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Severance damages - Gov't partially takes land. Owner will be compensated for property value of part taken and also any decrease in property value of part not taken caused by partial taking.

  1. If part of property is taken and this part "constitutes an integral and inseparable part of a single use to which land taken and other adjoining land is put," owner entitled to recover full damages even if portions of public improvement are located on land taken from surrounding owners.

(City of Crookston v. Erickson)

 Court acts arbitrarily in this case because gives compensation to one

neighboring piece of property but not to another.

  1. Gov't partially takes property right of access when widens road such that they do not intersect but cross over each other.

          • Court thinks that it is a taking so P gets relief.

          • Nelson thinks it is a consequential damage and there should be no relief. P still has access, just must take a longer route to get there. Nelson thinks ct just wants to compensate landowner. (People v. Ricciardi)

  1. IMPROVEMENT - Government must still compensate for land taken as severance damage even if rest of property increases in value. Government cannot subtract benefit from compensation. Reasons for this:

        1. Gov't may change its mind and not complete taking.

        2. Fairness in taxation. If gov't takes part of your land but does not compensate you b/c your land value increases, you pay through the taking of your land. But neighbors who also benefit from taking have not contributed anything. So compensate so no one pays.

        3. Ct. wants to give compensation. If unsure, err on the side of giving $.


  • City of Crookston v. Erickson (1955) – City condemned 3 properties so it could build a sewage treatment/disposal plant. City takes all of property A but only part of property B. Does B get anything for the diminished value of the rest of his land?

          • Because the use of B's property was integral and inseparable to the plant and to the remaining uncondemned property, B should have been compensated for the reduction in value to his uncondemned property

  • Rand v. City of Boston (1895) – City condemned a strip of land to build railroad near owner's property. Owner had rental dwellings on property. After railroad construction because of noise and dust owner had to lower rents and accept a different class of tenants. Since Rand's land did not actually suffer condemnation of a portion, Rand is not entitled to damages

  • People v. Ricciardi (1943) – Construction of underpass will block all access to and from the main highways to D's property = D is given severance damages

          • Ricciardi seems to say that as long as you suffer consequential damages, you get compensated even if you didn’t have any land taken

  • In re Water Front in City of New York v. City of New York (1907) -

          • If you benefit economically from the government project, one view is that the government shouldn’t owe you anything for the taking

          • If the economic value of your land is being increased by the project, it is impossible to have consequential damages but there may be loss of consequential gain (which you cannot recover) if there were other more beneficial ways to do the project that weren’t chosen

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