Texas Electric Service Company v. Campbell Tex.

Decision Date18 May 1960
Docket NumberNo. A-7608,A-7608
Citation161 Tex. 77,336 S.W.2d 742
PartiesTEXAS ELECTRIC SERVICE COMPANY, Petitioner, v. Seth CAMPBELL, Respondent.
CourtTexas Supreme Court

John R. Lee, Kermit, Cantey, Hanger, Johnson, Scarborough & Gooch, Fort Worth, Jack C. Wessler, Dallas, with firm, for petitioner.

George Finley & J. Albert Dickie, Kermit, for respondent.

CULVER, Justice.

Texas Electric Service Company, petitioner, an electric utility company, instituted condemnation proceedings to obtain an easement of a 50-foot right -of-way across respondent's land for the purpose of constructing high-voltage electric transmission lines to serve territories and communities of West Texas. The respondent's land consisted of approximately 21 1/2 sections (13,760 acres) of land in Winkler County, divided by two highways, Highway 302 from Kermit to Odessa and Highway 105 from Kermit to Andrews. The area between the two highways across which the easement extended embraced approximately 4,120 acres. The 50-foot right-of-way comprising a total of 14.88 acres, extended some two miles across respondent's land.

The special commissioners appointed by the Court made an award in the sum of $4,680. The Company complied with the provisions of Art. 3268, took possession, and proceeded with the construction of the transmission line.

The Company appealed from the award of the commissioners, the jury found that the 14.88-acre strip for the right-of-way was worth $60 per acre before and $12 per acre after condemnation; that the value of the 4,105 acres between the two highways exclusive of the 14.88 acres was $60 per acre before and $57.70 per acre after the condemnation; that the remainder of the land north of the Andrews highway and south of the Odessa highway was worth $60 per acre and had suffered no diminishment in value after condemnation. Judgment was therefore entered by the trial court in favor of respondent for the sum of $10,155.74. That judgment has been affirmed by the Court of Civil Appeals. 328 S.W.2d 208.

Petitioner does not complain of that portion of the judgment based upon the jury's assessment of the value of the 14.88-acre strip taken for the right-of-way, but says there is no competent evidence to support the jury's finding of the before and after values as to the remainder of the 4,120 acres.

The only witnesses offered by the land-owner on the issue of value were two of the three commissioners who made the original award in this case. That award, signed by all three of the commissioners recites in part as follows:

'* * * and thus having estimated the injuries sustained and the benefits received by the defendants by reason of such condemnation, finding that the remainder of the property which is owned by defendant is diminished in value by reason of such condemnation, and the extent of such diminution, we do accordingly affix the actual damages which will occur to such defendants by such condemnation at $4,680.00.'

One of the commissioners, a Mr. Summers, testified that the 50-foot easement strip had a value immediately prior to condemnation of $312 per acre and that its value after the taking was $15.60 per acre; that the balance of the land, enclosed between the two highways and crossed by the transmission line amounting to 4,105 acres, had a value of $312 per acre before and $232.50 after, a difference of $79.50 per acre; that respondent's land lying north of the Andrews highway and south of the Odessa highway amounting to 9,760 acres had a value of $250 per acre before and $247.50 after. Amazingly enough and unaccountably so, although this witness as a special commissioner had fixed the total damage at $4,680, when testifying at the trial he estimated the damages at $320,000. The testimony of the second witness followed along this line except the difference between his before and after valuations totaled only $60,000. On the other hand the witnesses for petitioner were of the opinion that the land embraced between the two highways exclusive of the condemned right-of-way were depreciated in value only two or three cents per acre.

The western edge of respondent's land lay between one-half mile and a mile from the town of Kermit, while the extreme boundaries were evidently from four to six miles away. All of the land as one tract was used solely by the respondent for ranching purposes embracing as it did some 21 1/2 sections, while the town of Kermit itself occupied only about two sections.

The witness Summers was an employee of the Kermit State Bank and manager of the Basin Finance Company. He testified that he knew the value of this land and that he had made an investigation regarding the reasonable cash market value of these lands back in 1955. Significantly the occasion referred to was the time he was serving as a special commissioner appointed by the court, when he arrived at the total amount of $4,680 as damages to respondent's lands. He testified to no facts that would have caused him to increase the damages from that figure to $320,000. He confirmed that by his statement to the effect that his testimony in this case was based on the investigation he made in the latter part of 1955. He testified that the other factors that he considered during that investigation in October or November of 1955 were the possibility of it being used for industrial purposes, it value for the sale of water and caliche, and building up of the town of Kermit out on both highways. As to the depreciation in value of the land he testified that 'you couldn't build any industrial plants out...

To continue reading

Request your trial
30 cases
  • State v. Schmidt
    • United States
    • Texas Court of Appeals
    • February 13, 1991
    ...246-47 (constitution requires compensation only for probable future injuries affecting market value); Texas Electric Service Company v. Campbell, 161 Tex. 77, 336 S.W.2d 742, 744-45 (1960) (injuries that are mere possibilities are not compensable). Application of the rule to conjectural use......
  • State v. McCarley
    • United States
    • Texas Court of Appeals
    • December 20, 2007
    ...which are not reflected in the present market value of the property" should be excluded); see also Texas Elec. Serv. Co. v. Campbell, 161 Tex. 77, 336 S.W.2d 742, 744-45 (1960) (testimony that it was "possibly probable" that town would later expand so as to make property suitable for indust......
  • City of Pearland v. Alexander
    • United States
    • Texas Supreme Court
    • June 28, 1972
    ...be given weight in negotiations between a seller and a buyer. City of Austin v. Cannizzo, Supra. In Texas Electric Service Co. v. Campbell, 161 Tex. 77, 336 S.W.2d 742 (1960), we ruled evidence based on possibilities rather than reasonable probabilities to be incompetent, citing State v. Ca......
  • Pickens v. Railroad Commission
    • United States
    • Texas Supreme Court
    • February 10, 1965
    ...n. r. e.). Without writing on the point, this Court considered such evidence in its opinion in Texas Electric Service Co. v. Campbell, 161 Tex. 77, 336 S.W.2d 742 at 743 (1960). Accordingly, we hold that the trial court did not err in admitting the evidence complainted of. As above indicate......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • CHAPTER 10.I. Motion Authorities
    • United States
    • Full Court Press Texas Motions in Limine Title Chapter 10 Personal Injury Motions
    • Invalid date
    ...498 S.W.2d 923, 925 (Tex. 1973) (verdict improper where based upon speculative evidence of damages). Tex. Elec. Serv. Co. v. Campbell, 161 Tex. 77, 81, 336 S.W.2d 742 (Tex. 1960) (damage evidence remote, speculative, and conjectural should not have been allowed). Coble v. City of Mansfield,......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT