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6701 Hoover Road Indianapolis, IN 46260

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This Traveling Oral Argument will not be webcast live because it will not take place in the Court of Appeals Courtroom. Video of the event will become available within about one week after the hearing. See Oral Arguments Online for video.

 

AEP Indiana Michigan Transmission Company (AEP) filed an eminent domain action against 701 Niles, LLC (Landowner) to obtain an easement for AEP’s underground electric transmission line.  Landowner acknowledged the public purpose of the line and did not object, but the parties could not agree on compensation.  Thus, panel of appraisers was appointed pursuant to statute. 

During the appraisal process, which took several months, Landowner discovered that AEP had entered into a memorandum of understanding with the University of Notre Dame to allow the University to concurrently occupy the easement with the placement of a private line.  Landowner filed a motion to enjoin AEP from using the land for this private purpose.  Landowner argued that placement of the University’s line would constitute a separate and distinct use of the property and that this private easement for the University’s benefit was constitutionally prohibited from being taken by eminent domain.  AEP, on the other hand, argued that the private use of the condemned property would only be incidental to the paramount public use and, therefore, not an unconstitutional taking.

Following a hearing, the trial court denied the injunction sought by Landowner.  The court found that irrespective of whether the University were to also occupy the easement, AEP would still need the easement for the public purpose of installing and maintaining its transmission line.  The court also found that Landowner had an adequate remedy at law – compensation for the taking related to the second line.  Landowner now brings this interlocutory appeal.

The scheduled panelists are Judge Robb, Judge Altice, and Judge Molter. 

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