The Georgia Supreme Court affirmed that no condemnor should have an inequitable advantage over individual landowners.
Atlanta, Georgia (PRWEB) July 17, 2014
A recent unanimous Supreme Court of Georgia opinion favorable to property owners, reversed a Georgia Court of Appeals decision and reinstated a $5,187,500 award of just compensation for the Petitioner-landowner.
In Dillard Land Investments, LLC v. Fulton County, Georgia, case No. S13C1582 (decided July 11, 2014), the Supreme Court found that the Georgia Court of Appeals erred in its ruling allowing Fulton County to unilaterally dismiss a condemnation action after entry of the special master’s award of compensation. The Court concluded that the relevant event determining the time at which a voluntary and unilateral dismissal by the government is no longer allowable “is when the condemnor knows what the value award will be.” In the Dillard case that event occurred before the County moved to dismiss the action.
The Owners’ Counsel of America (OCA) previously filed an amicus brief in this case urging the Supreme Court to overturn a Court of Appeals decision which permitted Fulton County to unilaterally dismiss a condemnation suit after learning the amount of just compensation awarded to the landowner following a valuation hearing before a special master. OCA’s brief argued that, if left to stand, the appellate decision would unfairly disadvantage property owners in eminent domain proceedings by allowing condemnors the opportunity for a “do-over” if the condemnor was dissatisfied with a special master’s award.
In response to the Court’s ruling, Charles L. Ruffin, a shareholder with Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC and the Georgia member of OCA, made the following statement. “The Georgia Supreme Court affirmed that no condemnor should have an inequitable advantage over individual landowners. Had the Court of Appeals decision been allowed to stand, condemnors would have effectively been given two shots at trying a condemnation case.”
“The Dillard decision is a victory for Georgia property owners and insures that condemnation proceedings remain fair and equitable for landowners throughout Georgia,” said Ruffin.
ABOUT OWNERS' COUNSEL OF AMERICA:
The Owners’ Counsel of America is a nationwide network of experienced eminent domain attorneys dedicated to protecting the rights of private property owners large and small, locally and nationally, and to advancing the cause of property rights. The lawyers affiliated with OCA are in private practice in nearly every state and represent private landowners against federal, state, and local governments, utilities, transportation and redevelopment authorities and other entities that may be armed with eminent domain power. For more information or to locate a condemnation lawyer in your state, please visit http://www.ownerscounsel.com.