Lim v. Michigan Dept. of Transp.

Decision Date31 May 1988
Docket NumberDocket No. 87321
PartiesSinwoong LIM, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, Defendant-Appellant. 167 Mich.App. 751, 423 N.W.2d 343
CourtCourt of Appeal of Michigan — District of US

[167 MICHAPP 752] Mason, Steinhardt & Jacobs, P.C. by Walter B. Mason, Jr., Frederick D. Steinhardt, Jerome P. Pesick and Paul Owen Ashba, Southfield, for plaintiff-appellee.

Frank J. Kelley, Atty. Gen., Louis J. Caruso, Sol. Gen., and Patrick F. Isom, Ronald F. Rose, John M. Roche and Thomas P. Scallen, Asst. Attys. Gen., for defendant-appellant.

Before SHEPHERD, P.J., and GRIBBS and LAMB, * JJ.

LAMB, Judge.

The Michigan Department of Transportation appeals by leave granted from a [167 MICHAPP 753] circuit court order denying its motion for summary disposition brought pursuant to MCR 2.116(C)(4), lack of subject matter jurisdiction. We reverse.

On March 22, 1985, plaintiff brought an inverse condemnation action against the department in the Wayne Circuit Court under the Uniform Condemnation Procedures Act (UCPA), M.C.L. Sec. 213.51 et seq.; M.S.A. Sec. 8.265(1) et seq. In his complaint, plaintiff alleged that he owned a gasoline service station located on Ford Road in Westland. He further alleged that his western driveway, which provides access to the sole pump island of his station, was relocated as part of a road-widening project undertaken by defendant on Ford Road. According to plaintiff, defendant's relocation of his driveway "substantially and materially" impaired his right of ingress and egress so as to amount to a taking of his right of access. Because defendant refused to offer just compensation for this taking, plaintiff alleged that defendant's actions and omissions resulted in a de facto taking of his property without just compensation.

Subsequent to the filing of plaintiff's complaint, defendant brought a motion for summary disposition, seeking the dismissal of plaintiff's complaint on the ground that the circuit court lacked subject matter jurisdiction because the Court of Claims had exclusive jurisdiction over plaintiff's claim. The trial court denied defendant's motion.

The sole issue before this Court for resolution is whether a circuit court has jurisdiction to adjudicate an inverse condemnation claim brought pursuant to the UCPA.

The Court of Claims is a court of legislative creation. Its statutory powers are explicit and limited. Feliciano v. Dep't of Natural Resources, 97 Mich.App. 101, 109, 293 N.W.2d 732 (1980). The [167 MICHAPP 754] Court of Claims has exclusive jurisdiction to entertain claims ex delicto and ex contractu against the state and its departments. M.C.L. Sec. 600.6419(1); M.S.A. Sec. 27A.6419(1). However, this legislative grant of exclusive jurisdiction does not divest the circuit court of jurisdiction over actions against state departments based on statutes which expressly confer jurisdiction thereof upon the circuit court. M.C.L. Sec. 600.6419(4); M.S.A. Sec. 27A.6419(4).

The Court of Claims is the proper forum in which to seek redress where a plaintiff alleges an already accomplished inverse condemnation by the State of Michigan. Hill v. State Highway Comm., 382 Mich. 398, 170 N.W.2d 18 (1969); Biff's Grills, Inc. v. State Highway Comm., 75 Mich.App. 154, 158, 254 N.W.2d 824 (1977), lv. den. 401 Mich. 827 (1977). The Michigan Constitution provides that private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation. Const. 1963, art. 10, Sec. 2. When private property is either taken or damaged for public purposes, this constitutional provision serves as a guarantee to the landowner that he shall have just compensation for the taking or damage. The sovereign, then, takes or injures the property with the knowledge of this guarantee and must be held to an implied agreement to abide by its terms. It is, in a sense, a constitutional contract made for the benefit of private property owners. It imposes upon the state an implied liability ex contractu for such compensation. See Thom v. State Highway Comm'r, 376 Mich. 608, 628-629, 634-638, 138 N.W.2d 322 (1965) (Souris, J., Black, J.); Hunter v. Mobile, 244 Ala. 318, 13 So.2d 656 (1943); State Highway Comm. v. Bullard, 208 Kan. 558, 493 P.2d 196 (1972); Public Service Comm. v. Highfield Water Co., 293 Md. 1, 441 A.2d 1031 (Md.App., 1982).

We, therefore, hold that an inverse condemnation[167 MICHAPP 755] action is a claim ex contractu. Moreover, because our research has failed to reveal any statute expressly conferring upon the circuit court jurisdiction to adjudicate claims of inverse condemnation, we further hold that the Court of Claims is the...

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12 cases
  • Wayside Church v. Van Buren Cnty.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Sixth Circuit
    • February 10, 2017
    ...redress where a plaintiff alleges an already accomplished inverse condemnation by the State of Michigan." Lim v. Mich. Dep't of Transp. , 167 Mich.App. 751, 423 N.W.2d 343, 345 (1988) (citing Hill v. State Highway Comm'n , 382 Mich. 398, 170 N.W.2d 18 (1969) ) (additional citations omitted)......
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    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan — District of US
    • September 14, 2010
    ...PC v. Wayne Co. Dep't of Social Servs., 166 Mich.App. 342, 347 n. 5, 419 N.W.2d 787 (1988); see also Lim v. Dep't of Transportation, 167 Mich.App. 751, 754, 423 N.W.2d 343 (1988). It is well settled that an action seeking a refund of fees paid to the state is properly characterized as a cla......
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    • November 17, 1992
    ...The Court of Claims is created by statute and the scope of its subject-matter jurisdiction is explicit. Lim v. Dep't. of Transportation, 167 Mich.App. 751, 753, 423 N.W.2d 343 (1988). According to the provisions of the Court of Claims Act, M.C.L. Sec. 600.6401 et seq.; M.S.A. Sec. 27A.6401 ......
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    • Court of Appeal of Michigan — District of US
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    ...the proper forum in which to seek redress where a plaintiff alleges an already accomplished inverse condemnation by the State of Michigan." Id. at 754. It Plaintiff argues that in enacting the UCPA the Legislature expressly conferred jurisdiction upon the circuit court to hear claims of inv......
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