Condemnee Prevails Before Utah Court of Appeals In Eminent Domain Case

On May 5, 2016, the Utah Court of Appeals issued its decision in Utah Department of Transportation v. Boggess-Draper Company, LLC, an eminent domain case.  In 2010, the Utah Department of Transportation (“UDOT”) initiated condemnation proceedings against Boggess-Draper Company, LLC (“Boggess-Draper”) to take several parcels of Boggess-Draper’s private property.  Although UDOT initially indicated otherwise, in 2013 it filed a motion contending that Boggess-Draper had previously conveyed to UDOT all rights appurtenant to the property during an earlier, unrelated eminent domain matter.  Before the trial court, Boggess-Draper argued that extrinsic evidence demonstrated that UDOT’s position was incorrect, but the district court refused to consider such evidence.

On appeal, Boggess-Draper contended that the district court erred by refusing to consider extrinsic evidence.  In its May 5, 2016 decision, the Utah Court of Appeals unanimously agreed with Boggess-Draper’s position.  In so doing, the Court stated:  “We conclude that Boggess-Draper’s extrinsic evidence indicated the existence of a latent ambiguity” and “that the district court committed reversible error by declining to consider the extrinsic evidence.”

Steven J. Joffee, along with his former partner at his previous law firm, litigated the appeal on behalf of Boggess Draper.  A copy of the Utah Court of Appeals’ opinion can be found here: