City not liable for forcing removal of billboard on City property says 12th Court of Appeals.

 

Lamar Advantage Outdoor Company, L.P. v. The City of Tyler, NO. 12-12-00257-CV (Tex. App. – Tyler, May 22, 2013).

This is a billboard case where Lamar sought compensation for the required removal of a billboard pursuant to Tex. Loc. Gov’t Code Chapter 216.  The trial court dismissed Lamar’s claims in an order on the City’s plea to the jurisdiction and summary judgment motion and Lamar appealed.

Lamar owned a billboard on private property within City limits under a ten year land lease.  The City purchased the property from the original land owner and when the lease ran out, the City, as the new owner, demanded the billboard’s removal. Lamar removed the billboard but sought compensation for the sign’s value.  The City argued that Chapter 216 was designed for a situation where the City amends a regulation or ordinance requiring the removal of a lawfully placed billboard and must therefore compensate the billboard owner for its value.  Here, the City had no such regulation and was nothing more than a new property owner who desired the removal after the land lease had expired. The Twelfth Court of Appeals agreed. Since no regulatory removal was present, no jurisdiction under Chapter 216 existed.

If you would like to read this opinion click here.