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Nebraska Court of Appeals Clarifies Obligation to Negotiate in Good Faith in Krupicka v. Village of

The Nebraska Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court’s finding that the Village of Dorchester “negotiated in good faith” before condemning a 37.11 acre parcel for the construction of a sewage treatment lagoon. State statute requires a condemnor enter into good faith negotiations as a condition precedent prior to proceeding with condemnation. The landowner claimed that the Village failed to negotiate in good faith because it never offered a “final” plat map or price, that rather the Village offered the landowner various alternatives.

The Court concluded that the condemnation petition must contain evidence of an attempt to negotiate in good faith with the property owner and that the statutory requirement is mandatory and jurisdictional. Under the facts of this case, the Court found the Village indicated, with reasonable clarity, the amount of land, as well as its location. Ultimately, the Court found when the condemnation petition was filed, negotiations were ongoing, and that it appeared the actions of the Village in trying to reach an agreement were the “epitome of good faith”. The Court further held that the numerous efforts at altering the design of the lagoons in order to address the landowner’s concerns are ample evidence that the Village attempted to induce the landowner to accept its offer.

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