South Carolina State Highway Dept. v. Rural Land Co., No. 18682

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtBUSSEY; MOSS
Citation250 S.C. 12,156 S.E.2d 333
PartiesSOUTH CAROLINA STATE HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT, Appellant, v. RURAL LAND COMPANY, Inc., Respondent.
Decision Date27 July 1967
Docket NumberNo. 18682

Page 333

156 S.E.2d 333
250 S.C. 12
SOUTH CAROLINA STATE HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT, Appellant,
v.
RURAL LAND COMPANY, Inc., Respondent.
No. 18682.
Supreme Court of South Carolina.
July 27, 1967.

[250 S.C. 13]

Page 334

Daniel R. McLeod, Atty. Gen., C. T. Goolsby, Jr., Asst. Atty. Gen., Columbia, Isadore Bogoslow, Walterboro, for appellant.

[250 S.C. 14] Dowling, Dowling, Sanders & Dukes, Beaufort, Clyde A. Eltzroth, Hampton, for respondent.

[250 S.C. 15] BUSSEY, Justice.

This is an appeal by the State Highway Department in a rather complex and involved condemnation case, the trial of which consumed three days of a special term of court, called for the purpose of such trial in Hampton County, commencing on May 30, 1966. The printed transcript of record contains slightly less than four hundred pages. The exhibits are numerous and at least some of them bulky and complex. The verdict in favor of the landowner was in the amount of $129,835.00.

On October 19, 1965, the Department condemned 90.5 acres of land belonging to the Rural Land Company, a South Carolina corporation, for the purpose of constructing I--95, a controlled access highway. The subject property, formerly known as the Kress Plantation and latterly as Buckfield Plantation, contained approximately 10,500 acres, and is located west of U.S. Route 17, about three miles south of Yemassee, South Carolina. Buckfield embraces portions of three counties, Beaufort, Hampton and Jasper; however, most of its acres are situated in the latter two. At the time of the condemnation the property was being devoted chiefly to an extensive beef cattle operation, there being on the plantation some 2,600 head of cattle. The right of way extends for a distance of approximately two and one-third miles across the extreme southeast section of the plantation, [250 S.C. 16] running diagonally in a north-south direction across the main line of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, at a point about three-fourths of a mile from the southern boundary of the plantation. As a result, the plantation was cut into several tracts, with three tracts being separated from the main portion of the plantation. One of these tracts lies east of the highway and west of the railroad and contains 484.3 acres, more or less, which we shall, for convenience, designate as Tract A. Another severed tract, which we shal designate as Tract B, contains 122.9 acres, more or less, and lies to the east of the railroad but southwest of the highway. Another

Page 335

severed tract contains approximately 165.7 acres, and lies to the east of both the highway and the railroad, but there is no substantial controversy as to this tract.

Several months before the trial, construction plans were requested by the landowner from the Department. Plans were furnished, and by letter the landowner was informed that there was no construction contemplated on adjoining property, either to the south or north, that would have any bearing on the landowner's damages. Due to the complex nature of the case, a pretrial conference was held on May 21, 1966, in Hampton, with the trial judge and all counsel present. The Department's counsel presented a set of construction plans and requested a stipulation to the effect that such could be introduced as the construction plans, without formal proof. An examination revealed that the plans presented were similar in every detail with the plans previously furnished to the landowner. It was then agreed that such plans would constitute the basis for the trial. Additionally, the date when the taking occurred, the acreage condemned and the fact that no benefits accrued to the landowner because of the construction were stipulated. At the suggestion of the trial judge, a further conference was held in Columbia on May 27th, and was attended by the landowner's agents, attorneys and appraisers, the Department's officials, engineers, attorneys and appraisers, as well as representatives of the United States Bureau of Public Roads. At that [250 S.C. 17] time, the landowner presented all of its proposed exhibits, which included maps, plats, pictures and plans. The landowner also requested that several changes be made in construction so that its damages could be diminished, but such changes were rejected by the Department. Its engineers did suggest that some other changes might be made in the course of construction, but no written plans showing any alterations, changes, modifications or additions were furnished the landowner prior to trial, although requested by its attorneys.

It is obvious from the record that both the landowner and the Department devoted a great deal of time and expense to the respective appraisals and preparation for trial. The engineers and appraisers who testified for both the Department and the landowner evidently spent many days in the preparation of their respective appraisals. The lowest appraisal of damages on behalf of the Department was in the amount of $28,300, while the highest was in the amount of $45,300. Appraisals on behalf of the landowner ran from $134,057.50, to $219,160.00.

A further description of the plantation and its use prior to the condemnation is indicated to throw light on the issues. The upper reaches of the Pocataligo River cross the northern portion of the plantation. A portion of the plantation, containing somewhat more than one thousand acres, was tile drained and at one time used as a bulb farm. In addition to being title drained, this area was connected with the upper reaches of the river by a series of canals and flood gates whereby the area could be not only drained, but irrigated. While the landowner had other pasture area, the tile drained area was its prime pasture land, and, according to the evidence, probably the best pasture land in the state.

The new highway intersects this tile drained area, as well as one or more of the canals serving the same, leaving 246 acres thereof, known as the heifer pasture, lying in Tract A to the east of the highway. This pasture normally and adequately[250 S.C. 18] sustained 250 head of cattle. Also contained in Tract A is a Coastal Bermuda hayfield.

All of the buildings on the plantation, including the hay barns and the cutting pens, where the cattle are brought for treatment and spraying at frequent intervals, lie to the west of the new highway. Prior to the condemnation, the heifer pasture and the hayfield in Tract A were readily accessible to the cutting pens, barns, etc. by a lane of fenced roadway, thirty-five feet in width and some one-half mile in

Page 336

length, that will be eliminated by the construction of the highway.

The only possible access to Tract A, shown on the Department plans furnished the landowner and agreed upon as a basis for the trial, was a 10 10 box culvert, 162 feet in langth, underneath the highway at a point approximately one-quarter of a mile south of the heifer pasture. The said culvert is located in a low, swampy area with the bottom thereof being some two feet below ground level, flowage through this culvert being from west to east. The plans showed concrete berm ditches to the west of and parallel to the highway leading into the western end of the culvert, and also a concrete berm ditch to the east of the...

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14 practice notes
  • Hook v. Rothstein, No. 0154
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • April 16, 1984
    ...discretion, committed legal error in its exercise, and prejudiced the appellant's rights. S.C. State Highway Department v. Rural Land Co., 250 S.C. 12, 156 S.E.2d 333 (1967); Cudd v. John Hancock Mutual Life Ins. Co., 310 S.E.2d 830 (S.C.App., 1983); see also Wright v. Public Savings Life I......
  • Rutledge v. St. Paul Fire and Marine Ins. Co., No. 0533
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • June 17, 1985
    ...the commission of legal error in its exercise, and prejudice to the rights of the appellant. S.C. State Highway Dept. v. Rural Land Co., 250 S.C. 12, 156 S.E.2d 333 (1967); Cudd v. John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co., 279 S.C. 623, 310 S.E.2d 830 St. Paul and USF & G maintain the trial j......
  • Clark v. Ross, No. 0406
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • November 21, 1984
    ...of legal error in its exercise, and prejudice to the rights of the appellant. See also S.C. State Highway Dept. v. Rural Land Co., 250 S.C. 12, 156 S.E.2d 333 (1967); Welch v. Whitaker, 282 S.C. 251, 317 S.E.2d 758 Assuming Dr. Sims's out-of-court statement constituted inadmissible hearsay ......
  • Honea v. Prior, No. 1157
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • March 22, 1988
    ...Strand Construction Co., Inc. v. Graves, 269 S.C. 594, 239 S.E.2d 81 (1977); South Carolina State Highway Department v. Rural Land Co., 250 S.C. 12, 156 S.E.2d 333 Assuming the trial court's exclusion of the proffered evidence constituted a manifest error of law, no prejudice resulted from ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
14 cases
  • Hook v. Rothstein, No. 0154
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • April 16, 1984
    ...discretion, committed legal error in its exercise, and prejudiced the appellant's rights. S.C. State Highway Department v. Rural Land Co., 250 S.C. 12, 156 S.E.2d 333 (1967); Cudd v. John Hancock Mutual Life Ins. Co., 310 S.E.2d 830 (S.C.App., 1983); see also Wright v. Public Savings Life I......
  • Rutledge v. St. Paul Fire and Marine Ins. Co., No. 0533
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • June 17, 1985
    ...the commission of legal error in its exercise, and prejudice to the rights of the appellant. S.C. State Highway Dept. v. Rural Land Co., 250 S.C. 12, 156 S.E.2d 333 (1967); Cudd v. John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co., 279 S.C. 623, 310 S.E.2d 830 St. Paul and USF & G maintain the trial j......
  • Clark v. Ross, No. 0406
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • November 21, 1984
    ...of legal error in its exercise, and prejudice to the rights of the appellant. See also S.C. State Highway Dept. v. Rural Land Co., 250 S.C. 12, 156 S.E.2d 333 (1967); Welch v. Whitaker, 282 S.C. 251, 317 S.E.2d 758 Assuming Dr. Sims's out-of-court statement constituted inadmissible hearsay ......
  • Honea v. Prior, No. 1157
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • March 22, 1988
    ...Strand Construction Co., Inc. v. Graves, 269 S.C. 594, 239 S.E.2d 81 (1977); South Carolina State Highway Department v. Rural Land Co., 250 S.C. 12, 156 S.E.2d 333 Assuming the trial court's exclusion of the proffered evidence constituted a manifest error of law, no prejudice resulted from ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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