Kevin Duffy


The individual's right in eminent domain proceedings are spelled out by the United States Constitution-specifically, Amendment V, which provides that private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation. Of course, the seeming simplicity of this constitutional provision belies the complexities involved in its application. For example, it is well settled that "just compensation" for a given piece of property must be measured interms of the fair market value of that property. But market values of real estate are apt to fluctuate even under normal conditions, and their behavior when a public acquisition is in the offing can be chaotic. The problem the ourts face is in harnessing these economic forces in such a way that the individual property owner's rights will be safeguarded. This note will examine how the courts have dealt with depreciation in general, and depreciation when a "full taking" is involved in particular.