Rutledge v. State

In Rutledge v. State, 100 Ariz. 174, 412 P.2d 467 (1966), Rutledge filed a complaint in inverse eminent domain more than two years after the state completed construction of a portion of a controlled-access freeway that restricted access to his land. Relying on a special two-year statute of limitations applicable to lands taken or damaged in construction of highways, the trial court granted summary judgment to the state. Id. at 177, 412 P.2d at 470. On appeal, Rutledge contended that the limitations period conflicted with Article 2, Section 17 of the Arizona Constitution (the eminent domain clause) and was therefore unconstitutional. Id. at 179, 412 P.2d at 471. After first distinguishing Water District as a case involving "the taking of an easement" rather than incidental damage to property as alleged by Rutledge, id., the court found the two-year statute to be a "reasonable" exercise of legislative authority: The legislature may impose a reasonable time within which an action must be brought to recover damages recoverable under a constitutional provision. A two-year statute of limitations is a reasonable time within which a claimant must bring his action to recover for incidental damages incurred where there is no physical invasion of his property through construction of a public highway. Id. at 180, 412 P.2d at 472. In Rutledge the Court upheld a two year statute of limitations for a plaintiff attempting to assert a claim in inverse eminent domain. The Court acknowledged that even the constitutional right to recover damages for the taking of property was subject to legislatively enacted time barriers. The Court have no hesitation in making the same statement with regard to tort claims against those who render medical services. However, Rutledge does not stand for the constitutionality of a statute which would require a claimant in inverse eminent domain to act against the state before he reached the age of ten. 143 Ariz. at 105-06, 692 P.2d at 284-85.