Buy the Farm takes major hit

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on August 6, 2012 @ 11:45 am


The Minnesota Court of Appeals has just released a devasting decision — that Buy the Farm landowners are not “forced” to leave their property and are not entitled to other benefits under Minn. Stat. ch. 117 including relocation compensation.

Buy the Farm – NSP v. Aleckson, Pudas, Hanson, et al.

Thanks to the crass little birdie who sent word, errrrrrr…  tweet…. errrrrrr, email.


I hadn’t checked the missive from the court this morning, was on phone with distraught landowner facing condemnation when it came over the wire… how ironic.

This decision?  It’s grim, utility mantra all the way.  Here’s the meat of it:

Minimum Compensation

We agree with the district court that neither the Buy-the-Farm statute nor the minimum-compensation statute explicitly exempts application of the other. But the relevant eligibility requirements of the minimum-compensation statute must still be satisfied. The minimum-compensation statute only applies to landowners who must relocate. See Minn. Stat. § 645.44, subd. 15a (2010) (“‘Must’ is mandatory.”). Here, respondents chose to make their Buy-the-Farm elections and therefore chose to relocate. As such, we conclude that respondents are not landowners who “must relocate,” and therefore are not entitled to maintain a claim for minimum compensation under section 117.187.

Relocation Benefits

As discussed above, respondents were not required to relocate. The transfer of the fee interest in their property to appellants was a result of respondents making an election under section 216E.12. And while respondents had every right to make such an election, their claim that appellants are “forcing” them to move is disingenuous. The fact remains that appellants sought to condemn only an easement across respondendents’ properties. Respondents voluntarily decided to make their Buy-the-Farm elections, requiring appellants to acquire the fee interest in their entire parcels. As such, respondents are ineligible for relocation benefits under Minn. Stat. § 117.52.

This is SO offensive:

The fact remains that appellants sought to condemn only an easement across respondents’ properties.

“Only” — can you tell they’ve never dealt with transmission?

Only… how dare they!

Odds are it’s now headed to the Supreme Court.  I feel an Amicus Brief coming on.


image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace