Byler v. Va. Elec. & Power Co.Annotate this Case
In these appeals the Supreme Court considered whether the Virginia Constitution provides for a cause of action by a landowner for inverse condemnation when the allegation of the complaint is that the landowner's property has been damaged by a diminution in value resulting from a public utility's construction and operation of an electrical transmission line for public use on nearby property. The trial court sustained the public utility's demurrers with prejudice, finding that because the complaints did not allege that the entire property had been rendered useless, and because the property had not lost all economic value, a damaging under the Constitution had not occurred. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the circuit court applied the wrong standard in reviewing the pleadings; but (2) under the proper standard, the complainants could not state a cause of action for declaratory relief for inverse condemnation when the sole damage alleged was a diminution in value arising from the public use of proximately located property, and therefore, the circuit court's judgment sustaining the demurrers was correct under the proper standard.