In Dune Construction Dispute, N.J. Supreme Court Holds that “Just Compensation” in Partial-Takings Cases Must Be Reduced by Value of All Reasonably Calculable Benefits

When the Borough of Harvey Cedars took a portion of the beachfront property of Harvey and Phyllis Karan to allow the Army Corps of Engineers to construct a protective dune, the Karans lost their view of the ocean, and a court awarded them $375,000 as compensation for the drop in the value of their $1.7 million home. In a momentous decision with important ramifications for shore protection efforts and for a much broader category of eminent domain cases, the New Jersey Supreme Court held that “just compensation” for the Karans should also have reflected the quantifiable benefits that they received as a result of the improved flood protection provided by the dune.