NE Supreme Court docket holds sanitary district was not a “individual” able to bringing a takings motion in opposition to the state

This publish was authored by Amy Lavine, Esq.

In a case determined in 2021, the Nebrasks Supreme Court docket concluded {that a} sanitary and enchancment district is just not a “individual” having “personal property” for which it might probably deliver a takings declare in opposition to the state. Quite, as a political subdivision, the district was created by and topic to the state, and was thus it couldn’t assert an inverse condemnation motion looking for compensation from the state.

Sanitary and enchancment districts are fashioned below Nebraska regulation as items of native authorities, with their main objective being to put in and keep public enhancements akin to streets, sewers, utility traces. Sanitary & Enchancment Dist. No. 67 was created to serve a subdivision positioned to the east of Freeway 75 close to Bellevue, Nebraska. It maintained two entry routes to the freeway for subdivision residents till 2003, when the Nebraska Division of Transportation and Sarpy County rerouted each entry routes as a part of a mission to reconstruct Freeway 75. The district contended that it was the “proprietor” of those entry routes primarily based on a dedication included within the subdivision plat and that it was entitled to only compensation as a result of the rerouting constituted a “taking” or “damaging” of its property. It failed to connect a duplicate of this dedication to its petition, nevertheless, and it conceded that an alternate route continued to afford freeway entry from the streets and roads inside the subdivision.

The trial court docket dismissed the district’s inverse condemnation go well with primarily based on a scarcity of standing, discovering that it failed to ascertain that it was an actual occasion in curiosity as a result of its pleadings neither alleged that its property had been taken nor that it was an “abutting landowner” to the blocked freeway accesses. Because it concluded, the subdivision plate “didn’t grant [the district] an possession curiosity on this property; fairly the Opposite, it divested [the district] from any possession curiosity it could have had and transferred possession to the general public[,] thereby changing the personal roads constructed by [the district] into public roads.”

The Nebraska Supreme Court docket affirmed this dismissal on attraction. Though the district argued that the difficulty of possession was a query of undeniable fact that should not have been determined on the pleading stage, the court docket defined that the district wasn’t entitled to an evidenced listening to as a result of the movement to dismiss offered a facial problem to the court docket’s subject material jurisdiction and the trial court docket wasn’t required to contemplate proof exterior the pleadings to resolve this situation.

In its second task of error, the district argued that the trial court docket erred find that “it was not the actual occasion in curiosity” and thus lacked standing. The trial court docket had reached this conclusion primarily based on its perception {that a} “dedication instrument couldn’t have conveyed to [the district] possession of the roads at situation.” The Nebraska Supreme Court docket agreed that the district wasn’t an actual occasion in curiosity, but it surely relied on barely totally different grounds, discovering that the district wasn’t a “individual” able to bringing an inverse condemnation motion. Because it defined:

the [district] ‘is a legislative creature, a political subdivision of the State of Nebraska.’ Statuses prescribe the [district’s] formation as ‘a public company of this state.’ As soon as fashioned, the [district] has no inherent authority to carry an curiosity in property; it, in contrast to a ‘individual,’ can train solely these powers expressly granted to it by statute or inevitably implied to hold out its expressed powers.’… so too might the Legislature ‘”’ at its pleasure . . . take with out compensation such property’”’ because it has allowed the [district] to carry.

Accordingly, as a result of the district was not a “individual” having “personal property,” it was not an actual occasion in curiosity and due to this fact lacked standing to deliver an inverse condemnation motion in opposition to the state.

Sanitary & Enchancment Dist. No. 67 of Sarpy Metropolis. v. State of Neb. Dep’t of Roads, 309 Neb. 600 (2021).

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