The N.C. Court of Appeals has ruled against the N.C. Department of Transportation’s appeal of a 2016 Map Act verdict. That verdict could force DOT to pay millions of dollars in compensation to owners whose property was taken by its inclusion in a state highway corridor map.

The three-judge panel offered a split ruling, but all three judges ended up siding with the landowners against DOT.

Judge Phil Berger Jr., writing for the majority, offered this interesting aside:

We must finally note that NCDOT closed its attempt to establish grounds for appellate review with the brief policy argument that irreparable harm would be done to the taxpayers of this state if it is forced to pay deposits to the court for the takings here. While it is admirable to protect the public purse and spend it wisely, this argument is not helpful at this point in the litigation.
This should have been a consideration before the highway corridor map was filed. The constitutional right to just compensation when the state takes an individual’s private property rights for public use will not be suspended on the mere fact that it may be expensive.

Read the full Carolina Journal story here.