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Vogel v. Foth & Van Dyke Assocs.

Citation: 32 ELR 20125
No. No. 01-1070, 266 F.3d 838/(8th Cir., 09/17/2001)

The court affirms the dismissal of property owners' claim that a consulting firm negligently announced that land neighboring the owner's property was suitable as a potential landfill site even though the land was farmland and, thus, could not be used for a landfill. The landowners claimed that this announcement lowered the value of their land, which they sought to convert to a residential subdivision. A district court held that the landowners' claim was not ripe because no landfill site has yet been selected, rendering the complaint speculative. The court first holds that the lower court properly dismissed the case. The landowners did not allege that the landfill, if sited next to their property, might produce harm. Rather, they claimed that the announcement of the neighboring land as a potential site has directly and immediately harmed them by making their property less valuable for development and driving away potential purchasers. Nevertheless, the owners failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The firm did not owe a duty to the property owners, and it did not supply the information to the property owners or for their benefit. Further, the owners did not rely on that information in making any particular decision.

Counsel for Appellants
Wallace L. Taylor
Law Offices of Wallace L. Taylor
326 Higley Bldg.
118 Third Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids IA 52401
(319) 366-2428

Counsel for Appellee
Stephen J. Holtman
Simmons, Perrine, Albright & Ellwood
115 Third St. SE, Ste. 1200, Cedar Rapids IA 52401
(319) 366-7641

Rosenbaum, * J. Before McMillian and Arnold, JJ.

* The Honorable James M. Rosenbaum, United States District Judge for the District of Minnesota, sitting by designation.