Travis v. United States, No. 218-60.

CourtCourt of Federal Claims
Writing for the CourtJONES, , and LARAMORE, MADDEN and WHITAKER, , concur
Citation287 F.2d 916
PartiesLewis S. and Jean S. TRAVIS v. UNITED STATES.
Docket NumberNo. 218-60.
Decision Date03 May 1961

287 F.2d 916 (1961)

Lewis S. and Jean S. TRAVIS
v.
UNITED STATES.

No. 218-60.

United States Court of Claims.

March 1, 1961.

Rehearing Denied May 3, 1961.


287 F.2d 917

Ernest N. Hudgins, Fairfax, Va., for plaintiffs.

Howard O. Sigmond, Washington, D. C., with whom was Perry W. Morton, Asst. Atty. Gen., for defendant.

DURFEE, Judge.

This is an action to recover for the taking of real property without just compensation. The plaintiffs have been awarded compensation by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia based on the value of the land on September 11, 1958, the date of the filing of a declaration of taking by the defendant. But they allege that the taking really occurred on February 1, 1960, by which date the value of the property had increased considerably because the area had been rezoned by county authorities.

In 1950, the Congress authorized the construction, development and operation of a public airport to service the National Capital area. The site chosen for the so-called Dulles International Airport is in Fairfax County, Virginia, near the town of Chantilly. In January 1958, the United States instituted an action in the district court to acquire fee simple title to those lands in Fairfax and Loudoun Counties which were deemed necessary for the airport development. The complaint relied for the taking on the authority of the act of August 1, 1888, 25 Stat. 357, 40 U.S.C.A. § 257; the act of September 7, 1950, 64 Stat. 770, D.C. Code 1951, § 7-1401 et seq.; and the Supplemental Appropriation Act approved August 28, 1957, 71 Stat. 426. Also in January 1958, the district court entered an order granting the United States possession of the lands which were the subject of the condemnation action. The plaintiffs, as defendants in that suit, filed an answer denying that the taking was for a valid public purpose and asserting that the two parcels of land which they owned were not susceptible of a taking for the purposes set forth in the Government's complaint.

The parcels of land owned by plaintiffs at the time the condemnation action was commenced were within the proposed exterior boundaries of the airport. Situated thereon was a house known as "Leeton" built by an uncle of Robert E. Lee in the early days of the Republic and of some historic interest. Although the exterior was authentic, the interior was of fairly recent construction. Nearby, but on other lands, another house of historic interest known as "Sully" was located.

The district court vacated its original order of possession in July 1958 and made the right of the United States to take possession contingent on the filing of a declaration of taking. This the United States did on September 11, 1958, at the same time depositing with the court the estimated just compensation for the lands taken. The value of plaintiffs' lands was estimated at $75,000 and this amount was later withdrawn from the court by them. Declaration of Taking No. 15 cited the statutes relied on in the complaint and other statutes including the Declaration of Taking Act, 46 Stat. 1421, 40 U.S.C.A. § 258a.

The trial of the condemnation suit as it applied to these plaintiffs was set for April 1960. However, on September 1, 1959, the first session of the 86th Congress approved Public Law 86-220, 73 Stat. 451, which was based on the premise that title to the parcels of land previously owned by the plaintiffs had devolved to the United States and which gave the United States the power to designate any public or private corporation in Virginia as the proper agency to dismantle "Leeton" and to preserve "Sully", it having been decided that "Sully" was an appropriate site for preservation but

287 F.2d 918
that "Leeton" was not. Accordingly, the Fairfax County Park Authority was designated as the qualified organization to acquire the buildings and to conduct the preservation, salvage, and removal operations. On February 1, 1960, the park authority assumed physical control of "Leeton" and began razing the building. On April 26, 1960, the court-appointed commissioners filed their valuation report advising that the total fair value of plaintiffs' parcels of land and improvements was $79,250, or $4,250 more than the amount deposited by the United States at the time of the filing of the declaration of taking. It appears that at the time set for trial in the district court the proceedings were restricted to an inquiry into the amount of compensation. It further appears that if there were genuine issues created by the complaint and answer in the action in district court, no final judgment thereon has been rendered

The petition asks us to determine that the taking of the two parcels of land did not occur until February 1, 1960, when the defendant's designees physically entered upon the premises. To so hold we would have to decide that the condemnation proceedings, including the declaration of taking, were invalid and ineffective to confer title on the United States. Such a holding would contain the implicit determination that the act of Congress of September 1, 1959, is a nullity because it authorized the United States to dispose of something which it did not own.

Plaintiffs compute the value of the lands involved, zoned for industrial purposes on February 1, 1960, at a figure in excess of $3 million. They also include in their damages prayer the value of "Leeton" which, of course, no longer exists. If the position of the defendant, namely, that the United States acquired title to...

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9 practice notes
  • Likins-Foster Honolulu Corp. v. CIR, No. 10060-10061.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • October 16, 1969
    ...and the payment into court of the estimated compensation. Covered Wagon, Inc. v. C. I. R., 8 Cir., 369 F.2d 629; Travis v. United States, 287 F.2d 916, 152 Ct.Cl. 739, cert. denied, 368 U.S. 824, 82 S.Ct. 42, 7 L.Ed.2d 28. The nominal character of the initial deposits in the Texas condemnat......
  • United States v. 3 Parcels of Land in Woodbury Co., Iowa, Civ. No. 1185.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • October 24, 1961
    ...the declaration of taking is filed and the estimated just compensation deposited with the court. Travis v. United States, Ct.Cl.1961, 287 F.2d 916, 919, certiorari denied 82 S.Ct. 42; United States v. 150.29 Acres of Land, 7 Cir., 1943, 135 F.2d 878, 880. In the present case this date was N......
  • U.S. v. Herring, No. 83-2429-EA
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • December 14, 1984
    ...determine just compensation does not violate the condemnee's due process rights in the compensation proceedings. Travis v. United States 287 F.2d 916, 152 Ct.Cl. 739, cert. denied, 368 U.S. 824, 82 S.Ct. 42, 7 L.Ed.2d 28 (1961); City of Oakland v. United States, 124 F.2d 959, 963-964 (9th C......
  • United States v. Mock, No. 72-2068
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • April 5, 1973
    ...258a, 40 U.S.C., title to the property in question passed to the Government on July 23, 1969 (Travis v. United States, Ct.Cls.1961, 287 F.2d 916, 919, 152 Ct.Cl. 739, cert. denied 368 U.S. 824, 82 S.Ct. 42, 7 L.Ed.2d 28; United States v. 12 Tracts of Land, Comprising 50.07 Acres, D.C.N.C.19......
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9 cases
  • Likins-Foster Honolulu Corp. v. CIR, No. 10060-10061.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • October 16, 1969
    ...and the payment into court of the estimated compensation. Covered Wagon, Inc. v. C. I. R., 8 Cir., 369 F.2d 629; Travis v. United States, 287 F.2d 916, 152 Ct.Cl. 739, cert. denied, 368 U.S. 824, 82 S.Ct. 42, 7 L.Ed.2d 28. The nominal character of the initial deposits in the Texas condemnat......
  • United States v. 3 Parcels of Land in Woodbury Co., Iowa, Civ. No. 1185.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • October 24, 1961
    ...the declaration of taking is filed and the estimated just compensation deposited with the court. Travis v. United States, Ct.Cl.1961, 287 F.2d 916, 919, certiorari denied 82 S.Ct. 42; United States v. 150.29 Acres of Land, 7 Cir., 1943, 135 F.2d 878, 880. In the present case this date was N......
  • U.S. v. Herring, No. 83-2429-EA
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • December 14, 1984
    ...determine just compensation does not violate the condemnee's due process rights in the compensation proceedings. Travis v. United States 287 F.2d 916, 152 Ct.Cl. 739, cert. denied, 368 U.S. 824, 82 S.Ct. 42, 7 L.Ed.2d 28 (1961); City of Oakland v. United States, 124 F.2d 959, 963-964 (9th C......
  • United States v. Mock, No. 72-2068
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • April 5, 1973
    ...258a, 40 U.S.C., title to the property in question passed to the Government on July 23, 1969 (Travis v. United States, Ct.Cls.1961, 287 F.2d 916, 919, 152 Ct.Cl. 739, cert. denied 368 U.S. 824, 82 S.Ct. 42, 7 L.Ed.2d 28; United States v. 12 Tracts of Land, Comprising 50.07 Acres, D.C.N.C.19......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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