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Heins Implement Co. v. Missouri Highway & Transportation Commission
Missouri Supreme Court
859 S.W.2d 681 (1993)
Heins Implement Company and others (plaintiffs) owned property along Wakenda Creek. During heavy rainstorms, the creek would briefly flood the plaintiffs’ properties. The floodwaters would quickly recede and would never reach the plaintiffs’ homes and businesses. The Missouri Highway & Transportation Commission (MHTC) (defendant) condemned portions of the plaintiffs’ land to build a highway bypass along the creek. MHTC installed a culvert under the bypass. After its construction, the raised bypass acted as a dam and flooded the plaintiffs’ buildings, causing significant property damage. The culvert MHTC installed was insufficient to properly drain the bypass. The plaintiffs sued MHTC, claiming inverse condemnation and seeking damages. The jury returned a verdict for the plaintiffs. MHTC filed a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict. The trial court granted the motion based on the common-enemy doctrine. The plaintiffs appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Price, J.)
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