No Compensation for Trees That Had No Market Value
In Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services v. Polk, 568 So. 2d 35 (Fla. 1990), the Court was asked to determine whether the destruction of citrus trees to prevent the spread of a bacterial disease was a taking entitling the property owner to just compensation in an inverse condemnation action.
The trial court found that the Department's action constituted an unconstitutional taking.
However, the Court noted that those trees that were actually diseased, and those within 125 feet of the diseased trees, had no marketable value and the Department did not have to compensate Polk for the trees with no marketable value.
Relying upon our decision in Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services v. Mid-Florida Growers, Inc., 521 So. 2d 101 (Fla.), cert. denied, 488 U.S. 870, 102 L. Ed. 2d 149, 109 S. Ct. 180 (1988), the Court affirmed the trial court's determination "based upon a review of the record, that there was substantial competent evidence presented at the liability phase to support the trial court's finding that Polk was entitled to compensation for all nursery stock destroyed except for those trees exhibiting symptoms of the bacterial disease and those located within 125 feet." Polk, 568 So. 2d at 40.
The Court concluded that the Department's destruction of diseased trees and trees located 125 feet from a diseased tree did not constitute a taking for purposes of just compensation because the trees had no market value.
However, the Court also concluded that the property owner was entitled to compensation for all the other trees which were destroyed by the Department.