d. Federal case law

In In re Ziegler, 326 Mich 183 (1949), this Court cited Campbell v United States, and in the instant case, the Court of Appeals also cited Campbell. In Campbell the landowner had 1.81 acres taken so that the government could build a nitrate plant to aid the World War I war effort. The trial court found that the value of the land taken was $750 and that the value of the remaining estate was damaged by $2,250 due to the taking. Campbell, 266 US at 369. A third allegation of damages involved "uses to be made of lands acquired from others," and the trial court valued this at $5,000. The trial court allowed the first two items as damages and disallowed the third.

The United States Supreme Court held that the landowner was entitled to "the value of the land taken and the damages inflicted by the taking," but "he was not entitled to have more than that." Id. at 371. The court explained:

Plaintiff had no right to prevent the taking and use of the lands of others; and the exertion by the United States of the power of eminent domain did not deprive him of any right in respect of such lands. And, if the land taken from plaintiff had belonged to another, or if it had not been deemed part and parcel of his estate, he would not have been entitled to anything on account of the diminution in value of his estate. It is only because of the taking of a part of his land that he became entitled to any damages resulting to the rest. In the absence of a taking, the provision of the Fifth Amendment giving just compensation does not apply; and there is no statute applicable in this case that enlarges the constitutional right. If the former private owners had devoted their lands to the identical uses for which they were acquired by the United States or to which they probably will be put, as found by the court, they would not have become liable for the resulting diminution in value of plaintiff’s property. The liability of the United States is not greater than would be that of the private users.

Id. at 371-72. The court concluded, "The rule supported by better reason and the weight of authority is that the just compensation assured by the Fifth Amendment to an owner, a part of whose land is taken for public use, does not include the diminution in value of the remainder caused by the acquisition and use of adjoining lands of others for the same undertaking." Id. at 372.

The Supreme Court also noted that the land taken was not "indispensable to the construction of the nitrate plant." Id. at 371. The Court of Appeals in the instant case noted that under Fifth Amendment law some states had identified an exception to the general Campbell rule of not allowing diminution-in-value claims. Basically where the land taken is indispensable to a project and there is a partial taking, the owner can seek to recover the full diminution in value. Thus, the Court of Appeals remanded the instant case to the trial court for a factual determination of whether the Tomkinses’ land for the bridge was indispensable. This "indispensable" caveat makes little sense. If the land was not indispensable, then how would the government have been able to acquire it for a public use?

In Spiek, this Court cited Richards v Washington Terminal Co. Richards involved an owner whose property did not abut a railroad, but whose home was damaged because it was situated near a railway tunnel that funneled an inordinate amount of smoke and gas onto the home. The plaintiff had sought damages for the smoke and gas, as well as the noise and vibrations typical with the operation of a railroad. The United States Supreme Court found most of plaintiff’s damages to be damnum absque injuria, but allowed claims related to the "special and peculiar damage" of smoke and gas being funneled from the railway tunnel. Richards, 233 US at 551, 557.

To the extent that Campbell and Richards differ from Michigan precedent, they are unpersuasive. In Hathcock, this Court discarded federal precedent regarding public use that was not in line with Michigan cases. The federal courts’ interpretation of the Fifth Amendment serves as a floor for landowners’ rights against governmental takings, not a ceiling. Michigan is allowed to provide — and historically has provided — more protections to property owners.