Arkansas State Highway Commission v. Maus

Decision Date14 October 1968
Docket NumberNo. 5--4676,5--4676
Citation432 S.W.2d 478,245 Ark. 357
PartiesARKANSAS STATE HIGHWAY COMMISSION, Appellant, v. Josephine MAUS et al., Appellees.
CourtArkansas Supreme Court

Thomas B. Keys, and Billy Pease, Little Rock, for appellant.

Laws & Schulze, Russellville, for appellees.

JONES, Justice.

By condemnation under eminent domain, the Arkansas State Highway Commission took 60.8 acres of a 66 acre tract of land belonging to Joe Maus in Pope County, Arkansas. The commission paid $6,140.00 into the registry of the court as estimated compensation. A jury trial in the Pope County Circuit Court resulted in a judgment for Maus in the amount of $16,400.00 and the highway commission has appealed. It designated the points upon which it relies for reversal as follows:

'The court erred in not striking the value testimony of one of the owners, Mr. Joe Maus.

'The verdict is not based upon substantial evidence and is excessive.

'The trial court erred in allowing appellees to introduce testimony as to the substantial increase in population of Pope County to prove that the general county population increase would raise the land values in the vicinity of Atkins, Arkansas.'

When a part of an owner's tract of land is taken by eminent domain in this state, the rule is well settled that his just compensation is measured by the difference in the value of the land, when put to its highest and best use, immediately prior to the taking and immediately after the taking. Ark. State Highway Comm. v. Fox, 230 Ark. 287, 322 S.W.2d 81.

The appellee, Joe Maus, was 66 years of age and had lived all of his life on the property involved. He acquired the property by inheritance from his father who had likewise acquired it from appellee's grandfather. Appellee had dairy farmed and truck farmed on the property for many years. He had planted and tended locust and pine trees on parts of the property and his overall testimony indicates a familiarity with the general land values in the area of the land taken by the appellant highway department. Certainly Mr. Maus was qualified to assert a land owner's opinion as to the value of his land and his testimony on this point was admissible. In Ark. State Highway Comm. v. Fowler, 240 Ark. 595, 401 S.W.2d 1, we quoted with approval from 20 Am.Jur., Evidence § 892, as follows:

'It is generally recognized that the opinion testimony of the owner of property, because of his relationship as owner, is competent and admissible on the question of the value of such property, regardless of his knowledge of property values. It is not necessary to show that he was acquainted with the market value of such property or that he is an expert on values. He is deemed qualified by reason of his relationship as owner to give estimates of the value of what he owns. The weight of such testimony is, of course, affected by his knowledge of the value.'

On direct, as well as on cross-examination, Mr. Maus testified as to different acreage values of various areas pointed out on a map or plat exhibit, and in totaling the values of the various plots his testimony indicates an error of $900.00 in his mental calculation of the value of the six acres remaining after the taking, and of $350.00 in his calculation of the value after the taking, but his testimony is clear that in his opinion the difference in the before and after value of his land amounted to $21,500.00. Even...

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15 cases
  • City of Lowell v. M & N Mobile Home Park, Inc.
    • United States
    • Arkansas Supreme Court
    • February 12, 1996
    ...the market value of local real estate. Such testimony should be stricken only if it has no reasonable basis. Arkansas State Hwy. Comm'n v. Maus, 245 Ark. 357, 432 S.W.2d 478 (1968). Thus, their testimony was competent and the Planning Commission could consider it. In addition, one member of......
  • Lindsey v. Forrest City, 75--345
    • United States
    • Arkansas Supreme Court
    • May 17, 1976
    ...Agency v. Hefley, 237 Ark. 39, 371 S.W.2d 141. Young v. Ark. State Hwy. Comm., 242 Ark. 812, 415 S.W.2d 575; Ark. State Hwy. Comm. v. Maus, 245 Ark. 357, 432 S.W.2d 478 (where Maus' testimony included some errors made in mental calculations while on the stand); Ark. State Hwy. Comm. v. Darl......
  • Arkansas State Highway Commission v. Schmoll
    • United States
    • Arkansas Supreme Court
    • February 9, 1970
    ...240 Ark. 595, 401 S.W.2d 1; Arkansas State Highway Commission v. Drennan, 241 Ark. 94, 406 S.W.2d 327; Arkansas State Highway Commission v. Maus, 245 Ark. 357, 432 S.W.2d 478. See also Arkansas Highway Commission v. Carter, There may have been some inconsistency in our decisions on this poi......
  • Arkansas State Highway Commission v. Geeslin
    • United States
    • Arkansas Supreme Court
    • November 3, 1969
    ...240 Ark. 595, 401 S.W.2d 1; Arkansas State Highway Commission v. Drennen, 241 Ark. 94, 406 S.W.2d 327; Arkansas State Highway Commission v. Maus, 245 Ark. 357, 432 S.W.2d 478. In Arkansas State Highway Commission v. Darr, 246 Ark. 203, 437 S.W.2d 463, we only said that the testimony of the ......
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