Lowball Watch – California

The Los Angeles Daily Journal of June 22, 2012 (Jury Orders Utility to Pay Property Owners), reports the results of a two-week eminent domain trial in San Diego, as follows. The evidence of value presented by San Diego Gas & Electric Co., the condemnor, was $701,400. The jury award (evidently accepting the owners’ valuation evidence) was $8 million.

The Daily Journal article is a bit sketchy on details (it does not report what the condemnor’s pre-litigation offer was, nor the actual amount of land taken out of the owners’ 115-acre larger parcel), but it appears that the bone of contention was the value of minerals under the subject property, consisting of “granite deposits used in concrete, asphalt and other construction projects [sic].” The owners contended that the taking would interfere with mining. The condemnor contended that the property’s highest and best use was for low-density residential. Evidently, the jury disagreed.