Heins Implement Co. v. Missouri Highway & Transportation Commission

Missouri Supreme Court

859 S.W.2d 681 (Mo. 1993)

A landowner is prohibited from removing surface water from his land in a manner that needlessly or negligently harms adjoining lands owned by others.

Relevant Facts

Heins Implement Company and others (the plaintiffs) owned property along Wakenda Creek, which would flood during heavy rainstorms. The floodwaters would quickly recede, and no water ever reached the plaintiffs’ properties. The Missouri Highway & Transportation Commission (the defendant) condemned portions of the plaintiffs’ land to build a highway bypass along the creek and thereafter installed a culvert under the bypass. The bypass acted as a dam, and as a result, flooded the plaintiffs’ buildings and caused significant property damage. The culvert was found to be insufficient to properly drain the bypass. The plaintiffs brought suit, alleging inverse condemnation and sought damages. The jury returned a verdict for the plaintiffs. The defendant filed a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, which was granted by the trial court based on the common-enemy doctrine. The plaintiffs appealed.

Issue

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Holding & Reasoning

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Concurrence

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Dissent

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Last updated:

December 20, 2020

Judicial Opinion

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Procedural History

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Citations

859 S.W.2d 681 (Mo. 1993)