Pranke Holding LLC v. DOT (Eminent Domain)

In Pranke Holding LLC v. DOT (2018AP1646), the Court of Appeals District I held that a business was not due rental losses after an eminent domain taking on its property.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) acquired part of Pranke Holding’s property through eminent domain. The taking closed off one of four access points to the property. Subsequently, a restaurant leasing the building on the Pranke property terminated its lease, citing DOT’s eminent domain activities.  When Pranke was unable to rent the building after the restaurant terminated the lease, Pranke filed a claim for rental losses as a result of an eminent domain taking under Wis. Stat. § 32.195(6).

Section 32.195(6) provides that reimbursement for rental losses is due when 1) the losses are “directly attributable” to the taking and 2) the losses exceed normal vacancy in the area. The court of appeals found that Pranke did not meet the § 32.195(6) requirements. According to the court, the letter terminating the restaurant’s lease with Pranke did not establish that the eminent domain taking was “directly attributable” to its terminating the lease. Pranke also did not show sufficient evidence that its rental losses exceeded the “normal rental or vacancy experience for similar properties in the area.” Because Pranke did not meet the statutory requirements, DOT did not owe rental losses for the eminent domain taking.