Rocky Mountain Power v. JensenAnnotate this Case
Defendants-Appellants Stanley and Catherine Jensen, as trustees of the Stanley and Catherine Jensen Family Living Trust, appealed the district court's decision that granted Plaintiff-Respondent Rocky Mountain Power's motion for summary judgment. Defendants are record owners of a cattle ranch that lies within a corridor established by the Utility for a 345 kilovolt transmission line. The Utility sought a perpetual easement and a right of way for the Utility and its successors and assigns to locate, construct, reconstruct, operate, and maintain a 150 foot wide high-voltage overhead power line utility corridor through the eastern part of Defendants' property. In 2008, Defendants entered into an Occupancy Agreement with the Utility, waiving all defenses to the Utility's acquisition of the easement, except the claim of just compensation. Upon execution of the Agreement, Defendants were paid $215,630 which would be deducted from any final determination of just compensation for the easement. Under the terms of the Occupancy Agreement, if just compensation was determined to be less than $215,630, Defendants were not required to return the difference. The parties were unable to reach an agreement for just compensation within a specified time, so the Utility filed its Complaint in early 2009, seeking a decree of condemnation, an award of easement, and specific performance of the Occupancy Agreement. The Utility filed a motion for summary judgment, contending that Defendants did not identify any expert witnesses or laid a proper foundation for any probative evidence of just compensation. Upon review, the Supreme Court found that Defendants failed to establish a genuine issue of material fact to establish the fair market value of their property. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the district court's judgment.