The Problem

The state offered $144k as “just compensation” for 10-acres of vacant land owned by a highly specialized West Michigan nursery business. The property taken by the state was needed by the nursery for its continued expansion, as it was contiguous to its core facility. The state refused to recognize any impact on the nursery beyond the value of the “dirt.”

Our Approach

We worked up our business valuation expert to determine the difference in the nursery’s value, with and without the expansion property.  Our valuation advisors concluded that damages were $2.6 million. The state was incredibly abusive toward the nursery and its litigation tactics reflected this attitude through the state’s series of motions trying to dismiss the client’s business damage claim. The court rejected the state’s contentions and ruled that the nursery could recover damage to its business. The state, after losing a particularly important issue, removed the case to the Court of Claims. We filed a motion to strike and for sanctions, both of which were granted by the Court of Claims, which found the state to have engaged in gamesmanship.

The Result

As the case headed toward trial in early 2015, the judge became very active in pushing the state to resolve the case. The state took the position that its offer to convey 12-acres to the north (and contiguous) of the nursery facility washed out damages. Our client disagreed. The case ultimately settled two weeks before trial, with the state conveying the 12-acres and also paying $1.155 million in damages.

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