Inverse Condemnation Action Is No Bar To Recovery for Breach of Contract

This breach of contract case arises out of an inverse condemnation action filed by Continental Foods against the state of Texas.  In that action, Continental alleged that the state had acquired property for a highway expansion and did not compensate it for its loss of value under its lease with Rossmore Enterprises.  The Court of Appeals ruled that the lease’s language stated that the lease terminated upon condemnation, leaving Continental with no compensable interest to protect.  Continental then sued Rossmore arguing that its landlord had breached the lease in two ways: (1) by not requiring the state to proceed with the condemnation in a Special Commissioner’s hearing so Continental could receive compensation and (2) by not tendering to Continental its share of the condemnation proceeds.  Rossmore moved for summary judgment on the ground that the doctrine of collateral estoppel barred Continental’s claim because its right to condemnation had already been decided.  The Court of Appeals disagreed, holding that “[n]othing in our prior opinion determined the parties’ obligation under the Master Lease before condemnation.”  Accordingly, Continental’s claim was not barred by collateral estoppel.

Continental Foods v. Rossmore Enterprises