Lowball Watch – California

The Humboldt Beacon reports that a Humboldt County Superior Court jury returned a verdict of $2,500,000 for the taking of Hansen’s Truck Stop for the construction of a highway interchange. Mary Bulwinkel, Hansen’s Truck Stop Prevails In Eminent Domain Lawsuit, The Humboldt Beacon, Feb. 17, 2011.

The California Department of Transportation (known as CalTrans) took 1.7 acres out of Hansen’s 13.5-acre parcel that had been used as a truck stop. Before the trial, CalTrans offered $800,000, which makes the jury award over three times the state’s offer. The size of the verdict evidently was due to the fact that the taking impaired access to the remainder of the 13.5-acre property — not a good thing for a truck stop.

The article also notes that 17 employees of Hansen’s Truck Stop lost their jobs when the taking caused a shut-down of the truck stop.

Given the large discrepancy between CalTrans’ offer and the verdict, the Hansens also have a good claim for an award of attorneys’ and appraiser’s fees.¬†Whether the judge will award them¬†remains to be seen — after all, it’s California.

For the whole Humboldt Beacon story go to http://www.humboldtbeacon.com/ci_17415485?source=most_viewed

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