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Poletown Neighborhood Council v. City of Detroit

Law Dictionary
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Featuring Black's Law Dictionary 2nd Ed.
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Property Law Keyed to Singer

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Citation. 410 Mich. 616,304 N.W.2d 455, 1981 Mich.19 ERC (BNA) 1972.

Brief Fact Summary. A city condemned private property in order to give it to a corporation so jobs would not be lost.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. Condemnation for the public welfare cannot be forbidden, even if there is incidental private gain.


Facts. High unemployment exists in the City of Detroit (Defendant). General Motors decided to end its manufacturing operations in the city. If they left, the unemployment numbers would substantially increase, and then the city would lose millions of dollars in real estate and income tax revenues. General Motors made an overture to the city about finding a suitable plant site in the city. A site was found, and the city used the power of eminent domain to evict the residents from their homes. Plaintiffs challenge the constitutionality of using the power of eminent domain to condemn one person’s property to convey it to a private person.

Issue. Can a municipality use the power of eminent domain to condemn property for transfer to a private corporation to build a plant to promote industry and commerce, thereby adding jobs and taxes to the economic base of the municipality and state?
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