Lowball Watch – New York

The City of New York took by eminent domain a parcel of land owned by ExxonMobil, for a water pollution control plant, and made an advance payment of $809,540. Two years later, in March 2000, responding to ExxonMobil’s motion to exchange appraisal reports, it turned out that the city’s appraiser valued the land at $2,600,000, but he opined that the cleanup cost would exceed that figure, so he suggested a token payment of $1000. Eventually, the trial court (there are no juries in New York), awarded $8,505,457, plus interest at 6%, but ordered the award held in escrow, pending the resolution of another action having to do with the property’s contaminated status.

There was a great deal more to this complex controversy, so we recommend that readers with a professional interest in these matters read the entire opinion. It may be found as In re City of New York, 913 N.Y.S.2d 512 (Sup.Ct. 2010).

Bottom line: in addition to the $8,505,793.57 (plus interest at 6%),  the trial court awarded $3,091,793.57 as attorneys fees, plus $284,610.90 in expert fees, and $97,772.08 in “disbursements.”

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