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SCOTUS denies Evansville shopping center case

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The nation's highest court has refused to accept a case from the Indiana Supreme Court, which almost a year ago reduced a $2.3 million jury award in favor of an Evansville shopping center owner because of traffic flow issues created by the state.

At a private conference on Friday, the Supreme Court of the United States denied certiorari in the case of Kimco of Evansville, et al. v. State of Indiana, No. 09-197. The petition for writ of certiorari asked the justices to address questions about inverse condemnation as it applies to federal law, and what constitutes "judicial taking" or "judicial legislation," but the high court declined, meaning the 3-2 decision from Indiana's justices in March 2009 remains in effect.

The case involved the Plaza East Shopping Center and the state's acquisition of a strip of land needed to improve traffic flow onto a nearby expressway. That action sparked the litigation, in which Kimco claimed the construction and taking of that land affected traffic flow into and out of the shopping center and depreciated its value. The jury had awarded $2.3 million in finding that the company suffered a particular, private injury resulting from interference of Kimco's rights of ingress and egress. The Indiana Court of Appeals had affirmed that, but the Supreme Court found that Kimco was only entitled to $100,700 - the value of the physical taking of the strip of land and temporary construction easement.

Attorneys for the Indiana shopping center sought review from the SCOTUS, claiming in part that the state justices' ruling overruled federal precedent on land taking and compensation.

Now, the state court's ruling that reversed the Vanderburgh Superior judgment stands and its being remanded for further proceedings.

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