Condemnation: MARTIN V. KY. DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION (COA; 3/3/2006)

MARTIN V. KY. DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION
REAL PROPERTY – Condemnation
2005-CA-000093
PUBLISHED
AFFIRMING (COMBS)
DATE:  3/3/2006

In 1978 the Commonwealth of Kentucky condemned land owned by the Martins to develop a highway. The Commonwealth did not begin development within eight years, and was thus required, under KRS 416.670, to give notice to the Martins that they were entitled to repurchase the land at the price they paid for it.  No notice was given to the Martins, and they filed suit asserting their statutory right to repurchase the property.

After an order dismissing the Martins’ complaint due to the running of the statute of limitations was reversed on appeal, the Martins filed an amended complaint requesting money damages to compensate them for the delay caused by the Commonwealth’s failure to notify them of their right to repurchase the property.  The Commonwealth moved to dismiss the complaint.  While this motion was pending, the Martins moved to file a second amended complaint alleging that the Commonwealth’s failure to give them notice of the right to repurchase the property constituted a governmental taking.  Before this motion was decided, the parties agreed to a reconveyance of the property to the Martins.

The court the entered an order dismissing the Martins remaining money damages claim and denying their motion to file a second amended complaint, holding that KRS 416.670 does not provide the Martins a right to recover economic damages upon failure of the Commonwealth to notify them of their right to repurchase the property.  The Martins appealed.

The court of appeals affirmed, holding that the Commonwealth’s failure to notify the Martins of their rights was not a taking because the Martins retained no interest in the property after it was condemned by the Commonwealth, and thus there was no interest subject to taking.

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