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Supreme Court takes eminent domain case to clean up confusion

September 12, 2013

Confusion from “inartful language” will put the ongoing dispute over the Clark County airport expansion before the Indiana Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court granted transfer to Clark County Board of Aviation Commissioners, Board of Commissioners of Clark County, Indiana v. Dennis Dreyer and Margo Dreyer, as co-personal representatives of the estate of Margaret A. Dreyer, 10S01-1308-PL-529.

 
In this case of eminent domain, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s judgment in favor of the property owners. The Clark County Board of Aviation Commissioners appealed, arguing the lower court lacked subject matter jurisdiction as predicated in the language of State v. Universal Outdoor, Inc., 880 N.E.2d 1188, 1190 (Ind. 2008).

The COA rejected the board’s argument. It pointed out the passage from Universal Outdoor is “misleading.” If statutory procedures are not followed, the trial court could be prohibited from hearing the issue of damages not because it lost jurisdiction but because legal error was committed.

Writing for the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Brent Dickson acknowledged the Court of Appeals was correct. When deciding Universal Outdoor, the Supreme Court should have stated failure to file a timely exemption bars a property owner from challenging the filed report.

 
 

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