Lowball Watch – California

Word reaches us from Solano County, California, of another worthy entry in this category of eminent domain cases.

Solano County v. Valine, No. FCS032554, April 3, 2013, was a partial taking case. The county took 10 acres out of a larger parcel, splitting it into two parts, respectively 25 and 43 acres.  Condemnor’s deposit was $575,000, and the final statutory pretrial offer was $750,000 (raised from $700,000). The owner’s demand was $877,000.

The trial testimony of condemnor’s first appraiser was $320,420 for the take, plus $129,600 in severance damages. The second county appraiser testified to $350,408 for the take, and $124,000 in benefits, with no severance damages.

The jury verdict was $328,823 for the take, plus $924,148 in severance damages, for a total of $1,252,971, over twice the condemnor’s deposit.