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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court decides one today

In Utility Center, Inc. d/b/a Aqua Indiana, Inc. v. City of Fort Wayne, an 8-page, 5-0 opinion, Justice Rucker writes:

At issue in this case is the scope of judicial review where a property owner challenges the compensation awarded for condemnation of its property by a city’s board of public works under an eminent domain statute applicable to cities and towns. * * *

We find it inconsistent that the Legislature would on the one hand provide a municipality the option of short circuiting the detailed procedure for condemnation under Chapter 1, attendant with a full “trial and judgment as in civil actions,” but on the other hand provide for judicial review only of the record before the public works board when the municipality exercises that option.

Conclusion. We conclude that “rehear the matter of the assessment de novo” within the meaning of Indiana Code section 32-24-2-11(a) contemplates a new hearing with trial and judgment as in all other civil actions. And where a party so requests, a trial by jury. We therefore reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand this cause for further proceedings.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 11, 2013 10:51 AM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions