MB Financial Bank, N.A. v. BrophyAnnotate this Case
In 2005, Joliet filed a complaint seeking to acquire, by eminent domain, a low-income apartment complex that was owned and managed by the plaintiffs. Following almost 12 years of litigation, Joliet acquired fee simple title to the property in 2017. During the litigation, the apartment complex remained in operation; the plaintiffs paid the property taxes without filing any protest. In 2018, the plaintiffs filed a tax objection complaint, seeking the refund of over $6 million in property taxes paid between the date Joliet filed its condemnation complaint and the date it acquired the property. The plaintiffs maintained that “once title to property acquired by condemnation vests with the condemning authority, it vests retroactively to the date of filing the condemnation petition,” so the landowner is entitled to a refund for any taxes paid after the date of filing. The trial court dismissed the complaint. The appellate court held that the plaintiffs were entitled to a refund.
The Illinois Supreme Court reversed, overruling the precedent on which the appellate court relied. The legal premises on which that case rested—that a taking occurs at the time a condemnation action is filed and that the valuation of the property is fixed at that point—no longer exists. The court rejected an argument that the act of filing a condemnation complaint burdened the property and it would be unfair to require the plaintiffs to pay the property taxes that accrued during the condemnation proceeding.