Saturday, January 4, 2014

County of Wayne v. Hathcock case brief

County of Wayne v. Hathcock case brief summary
684 N.W.2d 765 (2004)

Defendant property owners appealed a decision from the Court of Appeals (Michigan), which affirmed the trial court's judgment upholding plaintiff county's determination of necessity in an eminent domain case.

The county sought to condemn the property owners' land for the construction of a large business and technology park.


  • The court found that the county was authorized to condemn property under Mich. Comp. Laws § 213.23 and that the creation of jobs was a public purpose within its authority. 
  • The county's charter provision regarding its authority, Wayne County, Mich., Charter § 1.112, fell within the scope of its home rule powers under Mich. Constitutional art. 7, §§ 1, 2, 34 and Mich. Comp. Laws § 45.515(c). 
  • The lack of an identified purchaser did not defeat a finding of necessity. 
  • The proposed condemnation did not pass constitutional muster because the taking was not for public use within the meaning of Mich. Constitutional article 10, § 2. 
  • The park was not an enterprise dependent on the use of land that could be assembled only by government action. 
  • The park would not be subject to public oversight after being sold to private entities. 
  • There were no facts of independent public significance, such as health and safety issues, that might justify the condemnation. 
  • In so holding, the court overruled Poletown Neighborhood Council v. Detroit, 410 Mich. 616 (1981).

The court reversed and remanded for entry of an order of summary disposition in

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