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Alleged Damages Resulting From Owners' Decision To Construct Portion Of Road Project In Order To Protect Investment Held To Be Irrelevant To Determination Of Just Compensation.

Oakland County Board of County Road Commissioners v JBD Rochester, L.L.C. , 271 Mich App 113; 2006 WL 740088 (2006)

In JBD , the Oakland County condemned JBD's property in order to improve the road, a section of which fronted their property. Due to funding delays, the project was put on hold which put the owners' development plans in jeopardy. As a result, the owners completed a portion of the road improvements with their own money and sought recovery of a portion of the expense within the condemnation action. The trial court ruled that the property owners were entitled to include damages related to costs incurred in undertaking improvements to the road. The Road Commission filed an interlocutory appeal.

The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's ruling. In reaching its decision, the Court relied on Dep't of Transportation v. Haggerty Corridor Partners Ltd. Partnership, 473 Mich 124, 700 NW2d 380 (2005), where the lead opinion of the Michigan Supreme Court concluded that evidence of an actual posttaking rezoning was irrelevant to the determination of just compensation. In that case, the Court reasoned the value of the property must be ascertained on the date of valuation and that events occurring after this date could not have any impact on what a willing purchaser would pay for the property.

The Court of Appeals stated that the claimed damages were not caused by the taking, but essentially were a result of JBD's business decision to secure their investment as soon as possible. The Court stated that:

When that project met delay caused by a public funding problem, defendants were not deprived of value inherent in the land or made to suffer noxious effects of the taking. They instead lost a convenient coincidence to which they had no claim in the first place. Allowing evidence of the paving would invite the jury to enrich defendants at the public's expense, which is not just compensation

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