Nauheim v. City of TopekaAnnotate this Case
In this dispute over a claim by former tenants for relocation benefits after the City of Topeka negotiated and acquired property where the tenants operated their businesses the Supreme Court rejected the tenants’ contention that displaced persons are owed relocation benefits under Kan. Stat. Ann. 26-518(a) any time a condemning authority acquires real property for a public project.
Under section 26-518(a), when real property is acquired by a condemning authority through negotiation in advance of a condemnation action or through a condemnation action, the authority must pay recreation benefits to any person who moves from the property as a result of the acquisition. At issue was the definition of the statutory phrase “negotiation in advance of a condemnation action.” The district court held that the tenants in the instant case were not displaced persons as defined by law and that the property acquisition was not made “in advance of a condemnation action.” The court of appeals reversed in part. The Supreme Court remanded the case, holding that whether a negotiation was in advance of a condemnation action is a question of fact to be established by a preponderance of the evidence.