City of Milwaukee Post No. 2874 Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States v. Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee

Brief of Amici Curiae National Association of Home Builders And Wisconsin Builders Association In Support of Petition for A Writ of Certiorari


When is a lease that everyone agrees is worth more than a million dollars totally worthless? When it's an eminent domain case and the court applies the "undivided fee" rule, that's when.

Most eminent domain attorneys know about the infamous undivided fee rule (aka as the "unit rule" in some jurisdictions), a legal fiction which requires a trial court to calculate valuation of property as if a single owner possessed everything, even when it is held by more than one interest. Under the rule, the condemnor is not required to compensate each separate interest in the property, but treats the property as if it had one owner.

For example, if a condemned building is being leased to tenants, compensation is measured by the value of the undivided fee simple absolute value of the building, not the aggregate value of the building and the leases. The building owner and the tenants must divide up the condemnation award by contract. In many if not most cases, the rule is uncontroversial. But in a few cases its rigid application works very unusual and unfair results.

This amici brief urges the U.S. Supreme Court to review a 2009 decision by the Wisconsin Supreme Court that concluded a very valuable long term lease possessed by the VFW was worthless under the undivided fee rule. The brief argues that under the Just Compensation Clause of the Fifth Amendment, each interest in property must be compensated at its true market value, and not by a legal fiction such as the undivided fee rule.

LOADING PDF: If there are any problems, click here to download the file.

Written by:

Published In:

Reference Info:Appellate Brief | Federal, U.S. Supreme Court | United States

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Robert Thomas, Damon Key Leong Kupchak Hastert | Attorney Advertising

Don't miss a thing! Build a custom news brief:

Read fresh new writing on compliance, cybersecurity, Dodd-Frank, whistleblowers, social media, hiring & firing, patent reform, the NLRB, Obamacare, the SEC…

…or whatever matters the most to you. Follow authors, firms, and topics on JD Supra.

Create your news brief now - it's free and easy »

All the intelligence you need, in one easy email:

Great! Your first step to building an email digest of JD Supra authors and topics. Log in with LinkedIn so we can start sending your digest...

Sign up for your custom alerts now, using LinkedIn ›

* With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name.