Somers USA, LLC v. State of Wisconsin Dept. of Transportation (WI)

Summary: The government must provide compensation for the taking of any private land.


Somers USA, LLC v. State of Wisconsin Dept. of Transportation, 864 N.W.2d 114 (Wis. App. 2015).


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Facts: Somers USA, LLC, (Somers) purchased land in November of 2007 right next to Intersate-94 for a truck stop. At the time, the State was planning a highway improvement project which would take a certain amount of Somer’s land. Somers hired Excel Engineering, Inc., (Excel) to perform work related to the truck stop. This included preparing and getting proper approvals for a certified survey map (CSM).

Excel’s initial CSM draft reserved two parcels of land for the State’s improvement project. Kenosha County Land Use Committee approved the CSM with several, none of which included dedicating any part of the property for public use.  In 2008, Somers recorded the CSM but never intended to dedicate land for the highway project.

The State later built a frontage road and on-ramp of the two parcels without compensating Somers. Somers filed action against the state. After a slew of court proceedings, a trial court ordered dismissal of the case with the condition that the State pay Somers $500,000 plus attorney fees, costs, and interest. The State appealed.


Holding: Affirmed. The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution and article I, section 13 of the Wisconsin Constitution prohibit the taking of private land without compensation. Because no governmental board involved in Somers’ development approved any road dedication or land grant in the CSM, the CSM lacked the necessary force required to convey the parcels to the state. Additionally, Somers never intended to convey the property to the State either.


Opinion Year: 
By: ATG Underwriting Department | Posted on: Thu, 12/03/2015 - 3:21pm