ODOT v. Singh

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Property Law
  • Date Filed: 06-26-2013
  • Case #: A149566
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Duncan, J. for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; and Brewer, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under the requirements in ORS 35.346, just compensation for damages resulting from a condemnation action need to be calculated based on specified terms promised in the agreement.

Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) appealed the trial court’s dismissal of its condemnation action to acquire an easement on Singh’s property. ODOT argued that the condemnation action met the requirements in ORS 35.346, with allowable uncertainty. The agreement provided for “a public frontage road, or some other access road,” for Singh to continue to access and operate his convenience store on the property. The trial court dismissed the action as a matter of law because it was insufficiently definite. The Court of Appeals agreed with the trial court. The just compensation, required under ORS 35.346, was appraised based upon assumptions and hypothetical damages that were not part of the agreement. By the language in the agreement, ODOT did not promise the access road would be open to the public; only that Singh could access the property via the road. Also, the minimally promised access road lacked any dimensions or a connection to a particular road. Therefore, the agreement lacked the specified terms to be considered an offer, and if accepted, Singh would have no right of enforcement. Compensation paid by ODOT cannot be based on non-binding conditions. Ultimately, the Court of Appeals did not agree with the trial court as to the degree of specificity required by ORS 35.346; however, the Court did find the proposed agreement insufficient. Affirmed.

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