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United States v. 6.45 Acres of Land

Citation: 35 ELR 20090
No. No. 03-2305, (3d Cir., 04/29/2005)

The Third Circuit reversed a district court judgment awarding compensation to property owners pursuant to the government’s taking of 6.45 acres of land in the Gettysburg National Military Park. The court impermissibly failed to apply the "unit rule" of valuation and, therefore, improperly determined the fair market value of the condemned land. Instead of calculating the fee simple value of the condemned properties (as if in single ownership) without regard to the constituent legal interests, the district court determined its award of just compensation by separately valuing the distinct legal interests of the property owners in the condemned properties. As a result, it awarded compensation to the property owners that exceeded, in aggregate, the amount the United States could fairly be obliged to pay.