Category: Lowball Watch

Lowball Watch — Pennsylvania

The York Dispatch reports that the Commonwealth Court has affirmed a jury award of $1.25 million for the taking of a 2.9-acre parcel of land with an old, former prison building on it. The Redevelopment Agency paid the owners $65,000, the amount awarded by commissioners. But after a trial, the jury took only 30 minutes to bring it its $1.26 million award.

According to our calculator, that jury award comes to almost 20 times the city’s offer.

Liz Evans, York City Must Pay $1.25 Million For Old Prison Property, Appellate Court Finds, York Dispatch, March 14, 2018.

Lowball Watch — Virginia

The Roanoke Times reports that in a taking for road improvements the Virginia DOT offered the owners “less than $1 million,” but a “special jury of landowners” (commissioners?) awarded $1.18 million for the part taken, plus $ $1.94 million in severance damages. After trial, the case settled for a total of $2.97 million.
Laurence Hammack, VDOT Agrees to 2.97 Million Settlement in Dispute With Botetourt County Landowners, The Roanoke Times, June 14, 2017.

Lowball Watch — California

Word reaches us from San Diego that the Tri-City Medical Center has decided to abandon a condemnation action it had filed earlier to take a three-story medical office building in Oceanside. The condemnor deposited $4.7 million, but after trial, a jury awarded $16.8 million, and the trial court also awarded litigation expenses in the amount of $2.2 million. See Paul Sisson, Tri-City Says It Wants to Abandon Eminent Domain Fight, San Diego Union, Dec. 19, 2016,

The unusual twist in this case is that the owners seek to prevent the condemnor from abandoning and are filing an appropriate motion with the court. They argue that under the circumstances, an abandonment of the condemnation action cannot restore the owners to the status quo ante. So far, the condemnor has spent some $2.6 million in litigation expenses of its own on this litigation.

More is certain to come, so we will try to keep an eye on this one. Stay tuned.

Lowball Watch — Arkansas of October 21, 2016, reports that the State Highway and Transportation Department, having deposited $639,000 into court, but having been confronted with the owners’ appraisal of $1,600,000, thought better of it and settled via a consent judgment for $1,525,000.

The initial bone of contention was that the State’s initial deposit failed to take into account the substantial impairment of access to the remainder caused by the partial taking, and the loss of parking on the remaining land, after the partial taking.

Lowball Watch — Virginia

The Roanoke Times reports the settlement of an eminent domain case. Couple, City of Radford Settle Eminent Domain Case, Aug. 28, 2016.

The city originally disregarded severance damages, even though the taking moved a driveway off the owners’ property.

The city’s offer was $2128, but the settlement, entered into on the eve of trial, was $21,000 — about 10 times the offer.

Lowball Watch — Pennsylvania

The Central Pennsylvania Business Journal of August 5, 2016, reports that a local jury awarded $1,250,000 to a property owner for the taking of his property, after the owners rejected the city’s offer of $60,000. The story does not report what legal or factual issues divided the parties. The city vows to appeal.


Lowball Watch — Utah

Http:// reports (Mark Green, “Court Affirms Prior Judgment, UDOT Ordered to Pay $15 Million in Eminent Domain Case, 6/24/2016) that after offering a property owner $5.2 million (without severance damages) Utah DOT took 63 acres out of a 350-acre larger parcel) for a highway. After trial, the court awarded $9 million for the part taken, plus $4 million in severance damages, plus about $1.9 in interest, for a total of $15,014,933.


Lowball Watch — New Jersey

NJ Advance Media for brings the dispatch from Essex County, new Jersey, that a local  jury just awarded a property owner $2.9 million in an eminent domain case. The city of Bloomfield took the owners’ property — a commercial parcel that the owner meant to develop — in order to develop it itself. The taking took place in 2012.

The case went to trial two years later. The city’s appraiser testified to a value of $440,000 and the city argued that the parcel could not be developed. The jury disagreed and brought in a verdict for $2,900,000 — or, 6.5 times the city’s evidence. The owner’s trial counsel was Anthony DellaPelle of McKirdy & Riskin, a law firm in Morristown, New Jersey.



Lowball Watch — North Carolina

Word reaches us that in a case in New Hanover County, North Carolina, involving the taking of the property of a building supply company, the state DOT presented evidence of $303,000 as just compensation (and later offered $700,000). The owners demanded $1,000,000 to settle. After trial, the jury verdict came to $2,995,000 — the amount of the owners’ evidence. After adding interest the total award came to $3,426,000. That’s over eleven times DOT’s original offer.

Lowball Watch — Minnesota

The Winona Post of July 13, 2015 (Chris Rogers, Mn/DOT Settles With Winona Leasing) reports that after the Minnesota DOT offered Winona Leasing $600,000 for its land on which a car rental business was conducted, the offer was rejected and eventually, Mn/DOT settled for $900,000. The trial court also awarded the owners $32,000 in attorneys’ fees in spite of the fact that the owner’s contract with his lawyers called for a fee of one-third of the overage, or $100,000.