Eminent domain, road with 'lengthy, complex litigation history' at center of Supreme Court lawsuit.

 
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Byline: Michaela Paukner, mpaukner@wislawjournal.com

A Dane County road with a "lengthy and relatively complex litigation history" is at the center of an eminent-domain case in front of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

The high court heard oral arguments on Monday in a lawsuit involving the agricultural company DSG Evergreen and the town of Perry, which is southwest of Madison. DSG sued the town over the construction of a field road. The town used eminent domain to condemn about 12 acres of DSG's land to build a park. DSG received both $312,500 in compensation for the land and a promise that the town would build a new field road equivalent to the old one. The new road was meant to ensureDSG could still access the rest of its 80 acres from the county highway.

During a trial held to determine compensation, an engineering report found the new road would be narrower, steeper and have less visibility at the intersection than the old road. However, DSG didn't raise anyobjections at the compensation trial. Only after the town had told DSG, in 2009, that the construction work was complete did DSG complain about the road's steeper slope, narrowness, turn-around limitations and drainage issues. DSG sued in 2015, but the court dismissed its claim, finding that the road didn't meet construction standards. An appeals court upheld the decision in 2018.

Matthew Fleming, shareholder at Murphy Desmond in Madison, is representing DSG in the state Supreme Court case. He said company officials were aware of the construction discrepancies before trial but didn't think they had the facts to back up their contentions.

"We would effectively accept Perry's...

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