BY COUNCILOR LITTLE:
RESOLVED, that the proper city officials are authorized to pay to Kenneth Hill, as trustee of the next of kin of Julie Mae Hill and as the assignee of Donald L. Bloomer, $20,000 in full and final settlement of a claim which arose out of the investigation of the death of Julie Mae Hill, and giving rise to a cause of action entitled Donald L. Bloomer v. City of Duluth, St. Louis County Minnesota File No. C4-04-602759; payment to be made from Fund 100-200-1610-5842.
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE: On May 27, 2004, the Duluth police department obtained a search warrant to search the property of Donald L. Bloomer located at 215 West Ninth Street, Duluth, Minnesota. The search was part of the investigation of the disappearance of Julie Mae Hill who was presumed to be dead. That warrant also authorized the excavation of the yard and soil adjacent to and beneath the residential structure on the property. After the home was discovered to be without foundation and resting upon wooden beams, a structural engineer and the City’s building official inspected the property to determine if excavation could safely occur without removal of the building. The engineer determined that the building was structurally unsound and excavation could not safely occur unless the building was removed. Therefore, the city hired a demolition contractor and demolished the building. Julie Mae Hill’s body was not found at the 9th Street property and to date has never been found. Subsequent to the arrest of Donald L. Bloomer, the next of kin of Julie Mae Hill commenced an action against Donald L. Bloomer for wrongful death and the city of Duluth. In his answer to the complaint, Donald L. Bloomer asserted a third-party action against the city of Duluth for the value of the building that was destroyed. During subsequent court proceedings, the claims against the city asserted by the estate of Julie Mae Hill were dismissed; however, Bloomer’s third-party action as to the value of the home was allowed to move onto trial. Trial is currently set for December 17. The court then separated the suit involving the wrongful death action asserted by the estate against Bloomer and Bloomer’s action against the city. The estate and Bloomer settled and the estate took an assignment of Bloomer’s claim against the city. Bloomer also deeded title to the property at 215 West Ninth Street to the estate. One of the city’s property assessors prepared an appraisal on the value of Bloomer’s real property at 215 West Ninth Street. The assessor appraised the value of the land at $5,400 and the value of the structure at $26,400. Because the city did not take the land, it has deducted the value of the land from the value of the structure. The city’s obligation to compensate a property owner for the damages caused to the property as a result of legitimate police action is established by the takings clause of the Minnesota Constitution. Because the amount of settlement is within the valuation determined by the city’s appraiser, the city attorney recommends this settlement.