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Kansas

The case against City advances to the Supreme Court as businesses are transferred

 

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – The Kansas Supreme Court will hear a case against the city of Topeka after local businesses were vacated from their buildings after buying their properties.

The Kansas Supreme Court says it will hear Appeal Case No. at 9:00 a.m. Wednesday, February 1. 123.063: Kansas Fire and Safety Equipment, A Kansas Corporation, Hal G. Richardson d/b/a Bueno Food Brand, Topeka Vinyl Top and Minuteman Solar Film v. City of Topeka, Kansas.

Court records indicate that multiple monthly tenants have sued Council for relocation benefits after being forced to move out when the property where they operated their businesses was purchased. The District Court granted Council’s summary judgment after ruling that the tenants were not “displaced” under the statute nor did Council intend to condemn the property.

The Supreme Court said it reversed that decision after it held that the material facts in dispute should have prevented a summary judgment.

In custody, the court records note that the city sought summary judgment because the district court did not have jurisdiction to hear the tenants’ claims because state law did not provide tenants with a right of private action. He further repeated his factual arguments that the tenants were not entitled to move-in benefits.

The District Court again sided with Council and granted a summary judgment as it agreed it did not have jurisdiction in the matter.

The court records show that the Court of Appeals found that the District Court correctly believed that it did not have relevant jurisdiction over the claims. The statute used is part of the Eminent Domain Procedure Act. It said that even if the tenants are “displaced” under the law, nothing permits the displaced to bring an independent action in the District Court for relocation benefits.

However, the Court of Appeals said it held that the dismissal for lack of jurisdiction should be reserved and reversed and remanded with an instruction to vacate the order granting summary judgment for the City and instead issue an order of dismissal without prejudice for lack of jurisdiction.

The Court has indicated that it will examine the following issues:

  • If the Court of Appeals decision ignores the primary purpose of the Federal Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act,
  • If the district court made a mistake when issuing a summary judgment,
  • If there is evidence to support the conclusion that two previous appellate courts failed to consider and implicitly held that the statute confers jurisdiction in the matter,
  • If the decision of the Court of Appeal renders the statute meaningless,
  • Whether the Kansas courts found matter jurisdiction and private action rights under other state statutes.

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