On July 10, 2012, Thompson Industries, Inc. entered into a consent judgment with the Arkansas State Highway Commission resolving an Arkansas condemnation case involving 1.95 acres of land and a permanent easement of .34 acres in Pope County, Arkansas. The Arkansas State Highway Commission had initially offered $9,200 for the property, but ultimately settled the matter for an additional $43,800.
The primary issue in the Arkansas condemnation case was the classification of the property’s “highest and best” use. The Highway Commission had classified the property as “recreational” use in an appraisal of the subject property, The landowners obtained an independent appraisal classifying the property as having a “commercial” highest and best use. The commercial use designation was supported by a site plan and evaluation conducted by a local civil engineer working on behalf of the landowners. Ultimately, the parties were able to resolve the matter for a total amount of more than five times the initial offer.
This case is a great example of how one decision by an appraiser for the Arkansas State Highway Commission can substantially impact the amount of just compensation initially offered to landowners in Arkansas condemnation cases. It also exemplifies the reason why landowners facing eminent domain or condemnation cases need to consult with experienced professionals (e.g. appraisers, engineers, and eminent domain attorneys) involved with the litigation of such matters to ensure that they receive the just compensation they deserve. The law of eminent domain in alive and well in Arkansas and landowners need to work with experienced professionals to ensure they receive the money guaranteed to them under both the United States and Arkansas constitutions.
The landowners were represented in this Arkansas condemnation case by Brandon Moffitt of Moffitt & Phillips, PLLC and Richard Peel of the Peel Law Firm in Russellville, AR. If you are facing a condemnation in Arkansas, visit our law firm’s webpage dedicated to our eminent domain practice.