June 11, 2020
Utah Supreme Court
2020 UT 35 (Click for full text of opinion)
On direct appeal, the Utah Supreme Court reversed a district court holding that a party may not rely on post-valuation facts and circumstances to prove severance damages.
- Damages for a taking are to be assessed as of the date of the taking. The measure of damages is market value—what a willing buyer and a willing seller would consider in a voluntary transaction. But there is no categorical rule foreclosing the relevance of evidence of a subsequent transaction involving the property in question.
- Evidence of a sale or other development after the date of a post-evaluation may at least sometimes speak to the market value of the property on an earlier date.
- Just compensation under Utah Const. art. I, § 22 guarantees recovery for takings of, and damages to, property, but does not sweep more broadly to cover costs incurred in defending a condemnation action.
- Compensation for legal costs is a matter of legislative grace rather than constitutional command.