COA affirms $2.3 million damage award

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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An Evansville shopping center owner is entitled to $2.3 million in damages for loss of access to a public thoroughfare resulting from a state highway project, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.

The court's unanimous decision came in State of Indiana v. Kimco of Evansville, Inc., No. 82A01-0607-CV-301, affirming a Vanderburgh Circuit jury award that stems from the road project in 2000 impacting the Plaza East Shopping Center along State Road 66 and Green River Road.

In June 2000, the state took 0.154 acres of Plaza East (owned by Kimco) along Green River Road as part of the construction project to improve access to the state highway. Part of the project involved putting in a concrete median and changing the setup of the shopping center's two entrances, causing traffic backups and a loss of business by the time the trial began early last year.

A four-day trial in February 2006 resulted in a jury verdict of $2.3 million for Kimco, or a total judgment of almost $3.2 million with legal costs and interest. The state appealed, arguing that Kimco cannot be compensated for its loss of access as a matter of law, and that the trial court improperly admitted evidence of damages associated with the loss of access and incorrectly instructed the jury on that issue.

But in its 17-page decision that includes diagrams to map out the area being debated, the appellate judges determined that Kimco was entitled to the damages since the state had taken property and the access and the reconfiguration of the entrances amounted to more than a "mere inconvenience."

The court cited an Indiana Supreme Court ruling from January in Biddle v. BAA Indianapolis LLC, 860 N.E.2d 570, 575 (Ind. 2007), as rationale in making its decision. That decision involving the Indianapolis International Airport clarified when a taking has occurred as a question of law.

In this case, the concrete median and refigured turn and driving lanes in front of the property contributed to the problem, the court said.

"Any one of these changes by itself might not amount to a taking of access rights. When considering all of these changes, however, we conclude that a taking has occurred as a matter of law," the court wrote. "The state's reconfiguration of Green River Road and the changes to the Southern Entrance and Northern Entrance are peculiar to Plaza East and Kimco, and the changes are 'of a degree that exceeds mere inconvenience.'"

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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.