Amicus Brief

City of Kalamazoo v KTS Industries

Case Year: 2004
Case Forum: Michigan Court of Appeals
Keywords: condemnation, Uniform Condemnation Procedures Act (UCPA), jury trials
Amicus Counsel:

Boris K. Yakima | Monaghan, LoPrete, McDonald, Yakima, Grenke & McCarthy | 33 Bloomfield Hills Pkwy Suite 260 | Bloomfield Hills, Michigan 48304-2946 | 248-642-5770


The Legislature has long since abandoned the procedure of
jury determinations of necessity in condemnation proceedings. The procedure described in MCL 213.25 (enacted in 1911) was for the purpose of carrying into effect the constitutional mandate of jury determinations of necessity as contained in the former 1850 and 1908 Constitutions. However, the 1963 Constitution eliminated the requirement for juries to determine necessity issues and reposed in the legislature the responsibility for providing the mode and method of deciding the necessity for taking private property for the public use. Notwithstanding, with the aid of the 1963 General Court Rules for judicial control and supervision of condemnation proceedings, juries continued to decide necessity issues where prescribed by statute. However, in 1980, in order to create a unified procedure, the Legislature enacted the Uniform Condemnation Procedures Act, which it intended to take the place of all other condemnation procedure statutes then in existence. In the UCPA, the Legislature substantially adopted the provisions relating to necessity determinations from the preexisting Highway Condemnation Act (1966 PA 295; formerly MCL 2l3.368). This procedure, as is now found in MCL 2l3.56, provides that the determination of necessity for taking property is to be made by the agency in the exercise of its discretion and is thereafter binding upon the court. A property owner, however, may challenge such a determination and ask that the agency’s decision be reviewed by the court for fraud, error of law, or abuse of discretion. In adopting this process, the Legislature plainly intended that such review would be conducted by a judge alone – not a jury. As was known from experience, the process of summoning and impaneling juries to try and determine both necessity and compensation (which could take years) often frustrated the agency’s ability to plan and implement public improvements and projects. The Legislature did not intend that any other procedure for resolution of necessity issues should continue in effect. The UCPA was enacted for the primary and overarching purpose of creating a single, uniform procedure for all condemnation actions in Michigan.


In sum, the UCPA provides that the trial judge is to review whether condemning a defendant’s property is necessary. The UCPA supersedes MCL 213.25 of the CSAPCA, at least with regard to the procedural issue of the determination of necessity, because it was enacted after the CSAPCA, is inconsistent with the CSAPCA, and provides that its procedures for exercising the power of eminent domain are exclusive. Moreover, while the UCPA did not implicitly repeal
the entire CSAPCA, it did implicitly repeal MCL 213.25 with respect to the procedural issue of the determination of necessity. Accordingly, the UCPA governs the procedures an agency must follow when exercising the power of eminent domain conferred on it by MCL 213.21 and MCL 213.23 of the CSAPCA and, thus, the trial court erred in denying plaintiff ‘s motion to strike defendants’ jury demand as to the issue of necessity.
Reversed. We do not retain jurisdiction.

MSC requested LDF amicus brief? No

On May 16, 2003, plaintiff filed the present condemnation action seeking to acquire title to and possession of certain properties owned by defendants. Plaintiff asserted that condemnation of the properties served a public purpose and was necessary for “the elimination of blight and contamination; the increasing of employment and the City’s tax base; and, as it relates to both KTS land as well as the land in the immediate area, the improvement of the City’s image, the development of vacant land, and the redevelopment of under-utilized land.” Plaintiff also asserted that the parties had been unable to agree on the amount of compensation that was just for plaintiff ‘s purchase of the lands, and requested the court to determine just compensation. Defendants denied that either a public purpose or necessity existed by which plaintiff could acquire the lands, and they asserted that the court did not need to determine just compensation unless plaintiff could establish a public purpose or necessity. Defendants also requested “a trial by jury on all issues so triable in this case.”

Case Number: 2003-11
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