Aqua America: State Supreme Court Ruling a Victory for Property Owners
Indiana Court Calls Protection of Private Property “Tenet of American Life”
BRYN MAWR, Pa. -- April 11, 2013
The Indiana Supreme Court today ruled that government does not have the
unchecked right to determine the value of private property taken for public
use, and that an Aqua America subsidiary is entitled to have the fair value of
its infrastructure established by a jury.
The case involves infrastructure that served a portion of Fort Wayne and Allen
County, Indiana. The City of Fort Wayne condemned the water utility in 2002
and unilaterally established a purchase price based on two appraisals that it
commissioned. Aqua appealed this decision and sought to have the ability to
present its view of the value of the property seized by the taking and
requested that a jury decide what the fair value of the property was at the
time of the City’s use of eminent domain. Today, the Indiana Supreme Court
agreed with Aqua’s positions and allowed it the ability to present its side of
Aqua America Chairman and CEO Nicholas DeBenedictis said the company is
considering its options and hopes to avoid returning to court. Nonetheless,
the decision justifies its persistence. “Although we don’t normally sell
assets,” DeBenedictis said, “when we do, we will fight to get fair value.”
Aqua America’s corporate counsel Christopher Luning said the company is
pleased to have played a role in establishing case law that gives vital
protection to land and property owners. “The highest court in Indiana has
rendered a national victory for private property rights. It assures citizens
have a voice in such a powerful use of government authority,” Luning said.
Aqua America is one of the largest U.S.-based, publicly-traded water utilities
and serves almost 3 million people in Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina,
Illinois, Texas, New Jersey, Indiana, Virginia, and Georgia. Aqua America is
listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol WTR. Visit
www.aquaamerica.com for more information.
Aqua America, Inc.
Director, Investor Relations
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