Chad Jarreau is a dirt farmer; dirt farming is literally the manufacture of dirt. For more than 10 years, Jarreau would dig and drain pits of dirt on land he owns in Cutoff, Louisiana, then churn the dirt to create fine-grained sandy dirt useful in construction projects. But in 2011, the South Lafourche Levee District, the government entity responsible for local levee construction and maintenance, appropriated a broad swath of Jarreau’s land for levee construction, making further dirt farming impossible and preventing him from fulfilling sales he had already agreed to. To be clear: The Levee District is not constructing a levee on Jarreau’s land; it is taking the land from him so it—rather than Jarreau—can farm the dirt without paying him.
A judge found that Jarreau’s land was only worth $11,869, but that his business was worth $164,705.40. However, when the case was appealed the Louisiana Supreme Court held that Jarreau was not entitled to be compensated for damages to his business, only for the price of the land, reducing the total award back down to $11,869.
The Institute for Justice filed a cert petition to the United States Supreme Court to determine if the government must pay you for losses incurred when it destroys your business through eminent domain.
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