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PBS Coals, Inc. v. Commw. of PA Dep’t of Trans.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court

January 20, 2021

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court reviewed an eminent domain and land use appeal from the Commonwealth Court in PBS Coals, Inc. v. Commw. of PA Dep’t of Trans. The condemnees in this action owned and leased the rights to mine coal beneath the surface of a particular lot. PennDOT took adjoining land to construct a highway and thereby cut off road access to the lot in question. As a result, the condemnees sought damages for the taking of the property and consequential damages for interfering with the egress. The Supreme Court found that there was no de facto taking because the condemnees were not mining and could “not meet their heavy evidentiary burden to establish any likelihood that they will be able to obtain” the necessary permits. As such, the Court ruled that no taking occurred. But since consequential damages are a separate issue that had yet to be fully developed below, the Supreme Court remanded to the trial court for further fact-finding.

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