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Department of Transportation v. Fortune Federal Savings and Loan Association

Supreme Court of Florida
532 So.2d 1267 (1988)


The Florida Department of Transportation (DOT) (defendant) filed a petition to acquire a parcel of land belonging to Fortune Federal Savings and Loan Association (Fortune) (plaintiff) by eminent domain for a road-widening project. DOT only needed a portion of the land for the project. By Florida statute, if DOT acquired only a portion of the land, then DOT would be required to compensate Fortune for that portion and for business damages, the total of which would be $2,225,000. However, if DOT took the entire parcel, then DOT would only be required to compensate Fortune for the value of the parcel, which was $480,000. A Florida statute permitted DOT to reduce acquisition costs by taking more property than strictly necessary. Accordingly, DOT sought to acquire the entire parcel. Fortune argued that: (1) it would be improper to require a business to finance the cost of a public project by forgoing business damages, and (2) saving the state money was not a valid public purpose under the state constitutional guidelines for takings of property. The trial court allowed DOT to take only a portion of the parcel. DOT appealed. The Second District Court of Appeal of Florida affirmed, holding that saving the state money was not a valid public purpose for a taking and that it was unconstitutional for DOT to take more property than necessary to complete the road-widening project. DOT appealed again.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Kogan, J.)

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