United States v. An Easement & Right-Of-Way Over 1.58 Acres of Land

Decision Date29 October 2018
Docket NumberCIVIL ACTION FILE NO. 4:16-CV-0329-HLM
Citation343 F.Supp.3d 1321
Parties UNITED STATES of America, upon the relation and for the use of the Tennessee Valley Authority, Plaintiff, v. AN EASEMENT AND RIGHT-OF-WAY OVER 1.58 ACRES OF LAND, More or Less, in Gordon County, Georgia, and Larry Wayne Stamey, Defendants.
CourtU.S. District Court — Northern District of Georgia

Philip J. Pfeifer, Anica C. Jones, James S. Chase, Lamont A. Belk, Michael V. Bernier, Office of the General Counsel, Knoxville, TN, for Plaintiff

Thomas H. Camp, Donald C. Evans, Jr., Evans Law Firm, Cartersville, GA, for Defendants

ORDER

Harold L. Murphy, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

This case is before the Court on the Omnibus Motion in Limine to Exclude Various Testimony and Evidence at Trial ("Plaintiff's Motion in Limine") filed by Plaintiff United States of America upon the relation and for the use and benefit of Tennessee Valley Authority ("TVA") ("Plaintiff") [61] and on the Motion in Limine ("Defendant's Motion in Limine") filed by Defendant Larry Wayne Stamey ("Defendant") [62].

I. Procedural Background

As directed by the Court, the Parties filed their Motions in Limine on October 10, 2018. (Pl.'s Mot. Limine (Docket Entry No. 61); Def.'s Mot. Limine (Docket Entry No. 62).) The briefing process for those Motions, as established by the Court's October 3, 2018 Order, is complete. The Court therefore finds that the matters are ripe for resolution.

II. Defendant's Motion in Limine

Defendant filed a Motion in Limine seeking to exclude a variety of things, including evidence, argument, or inferences: (1) "concerning expert opinions for which Plaintiff did not make timely and complete Rule 26(a)(2) disclosures" (Def.'s Mot. Limine at 1); (2) "concerning the absence of severance damages, or lack of damage to property adjacent to electric transmission lines, which has not been disclosed to [Defendant]" (id. at 2); (3) "concerning the existence of any flood plain on the subject property, or its effect upon the development potential of the subject property, in the absence of verifiable data showing the elevation of the subject property" (id. ); (4) "concerning the proportion of landowners who settle eminent domain disputes with Plaintiff without proceeding to trial versus the landowners who proceed to trial against Plaintiff in eminent domain disputes" (id. ); (5) "intended to direct the jury's attention to the fact that any judgment in this case will be paid out of public funds, such as references to ‘taxpayer money’ or ‘public project budget overruns,’ or the like" (id. ); (6) "relating to the highest and best use of Defendant's land for agricultural purposes" (id. ); (7) "concerning sales data of properties that are not comparable to the subject property in terms of their size, shape, use, or access" (id. at 3); (8) "concerning sales of real estate that were not ‘arms length’ transactions, or fair representations of the market price, such as estate sales[ ] or owner financed sales" (id. ); (9) "related to the subject property as consisting of 12.28 acres, when in fact the subject property includes two adjacent one acre tracts of land, improved with residential structures, and also includes 8 acres of land that is owned by [Defendant], and used for residential development, but separated from the remaining property by Water Tank Road" (id. ); (10) "the Flood Map, included on Plaintiff's exhibit list as No. 8, but not otherwise authenticated by any witness" (id. at 4); and (11) "intended to divert the jury's attention to any public purpose or public value of the electric transmission line at issue" (id. ).1 The Court addresses those issues in turn.

A. Expert Opinions

Defendant argues that Plaintiff's expert "appraiser, Marion Wilson, in his expert report, indicates that he did not find damages based on proximity to the transmission line based on several studies he claims to have conducted in the past, and others which he has reviewed, which allegedly indicated no damages to lots or properties adjacent to electric transmission lines." (Br. Supp. Def.'s Mot. Limine at 2.) Defendant notes that Mr. Wilson claimed to have attached summaries of two of those studies to his report, but that he did not attach the summaries or studies. (Id. ) According to Defendant, "[b]ecause Mr. Wilson failed to include the aforementioned studies in his expert report, and they were not otherwise provided by [Plaintiff], any evidence or opinion based upon such reports must be excluded from the trial of this case." (Id. )

Plaintiff opposes this portion of Defendant's Motion in Limine. (Resp. Def.'s Mot. Limine at 4-6.) Plaintiff notes that Defendant's arguments "stem from his improper expansion of the subject property at issue in this case." (Id. at 2.) According to Plaintiff, Defendant is seeking damages for all the property that he owns in the vicinity of the 1.58 acre easement and right-of-way for the transmission line, although the transmission line only crosses a small portion of one parcel of Defendant's land. (Id. ) Plaintiff acknowledges that Defendant owns approximately forty-six acres in the area of the transmission line, including: (1) Tax Parcel No. 021 083, consisting of 12.28 acres and used for farming, which the transmission line crosses; (2) Tax Parcel No. 021 083A, consisting of one acre used for residential purposes and not crossed by the transmission line; (3) Tax Parcel No. 021 117, consisting of one acre used for residential purposes and not crossed by the transmission line; (4) Tax Parcel 021 087, consisting of 22.79 acres used for agricultural purposes, not crossed by the transmission line, not included in the Parties' stipulated map, and located across a public road from the subject property; and (5) Tax Parcel 021 128A, consisting of 8.59 acres used for agricultural purposes, not crossed by the transmission line, not included in the Parties' stipulated map, and located across a public road from the subject property. (Id. at 3-4.)

Plaintiff notes that the referenced adjacent lots, Tax Parcels 021 083A and 021 117, are not relevant to the issue of just compensation because they are used for a different purpose than the subject property, and any expert opinions concerning these properties are irrelevant. (Resp. Def.'s Mot. Limine at 4.) Plaintiff further notes that Mr. Wilson did not simply base his opinions of no damage to those parcels on the referenced studies, and that he personally inspected the parcels. (Id. at 4-5.) Plaintiff also states that it produced Mr. Wilson's reports for the three properties to Defendant. (Id. )

In his reply, Defendant argues again that Mr. Wilson failed to disclose the studies upon which he relies. (Reply Supp. Def.'s Mot. Limine (Docket Entry No. 70) at 2-4.)

The Court denies this portion of Defendant's Motion in Limine. As discussed infra, Defendant bases his argument on parcels that are not relevant to the issue of just compensation. The two parcels for which Defendant seeks to recover damages are separate parcels used for different purposes and are not part of the subject property for purposes of determining just compensation in this case. In any event, Mr. Wilson personally inspected the properties, and Plaintiff disclosed the expert reports to Defendant. Defendant's arguments do not warrant excluding this evidence, and the Court denies this portion of Defendant's Motion in Limine.

B. Absence of Severance Damages/Lack of Damage to Property Adjacent to Transmission Lines

Defendant argues that Plaintiff "has failed to disclose any basis for Marion Wilson's opinion that electric transmission lines do not damage the value of adjacent property." (Br. Supp. Def.'s Mot. Limine at 3.) Defendant contends that Mr. Wilson failed to produce the studies he relied upon, and argues that, "[i]n their absence, Mr. Wilson clearly lacks any basis for the expression of such opinions in the trial of this case." (Id. ) Defendant further argues that Plaintiff "has not identified any other witnesses or evidence which would provide a basis for an opinion or inference that electric transmission lines do not reduce the value of adjacent property." (Id. ) Plaintiff opposes this portion of Defendant's Motion, arguing that "any argument regarding damages, severance or otherwise, to the adjacent parcels is irrelevant due to the absence of unity of use," and "Mr. Wilson did disclose the basis for finding no damage to the adjacent parcels in his reports." (Resp. Def.'s Mot. Limine at 6.) In his reply, Defendant argues that Mr. Wilson failed to disclose the basis for his opinion. (Reply Supp. Def.'s Mot. Limine at 4-5.)

The Court denies this portion of Defendant's Motion in Limine. As discussed above, the two parcels at issue in this portion of Defendant's Motion are not part of the subject property, and this evidence is irrelevant. In any event, Mr. Wilson disclosed the basis for finding no damage to those parcels in his report. Defendant is not entitled to exclude this evidence, and the Court denies this portion of Defendant's Motion in Limine.

C. Flood Plain and Its Effect

Defendant argues that Mr. Wilson "bases his opinion of the value of the subject property on flood plain maps which he did not prepare, and cannot authenticate," and that "the map in question FIRM Panel 0042D, shows the subject property to be within zone AE, which indicates that property lying below the Base Flood Elevation (‘BFE’) may be subject to flooding." (Br. Supp. Def.'s Mot. Limine at 3-4.) According to Defendant, Mr. Wilson claims to use the map to support his opinion that the subject property is mostly flood prone. (Id. at 4.) Defendant complains that "nowhere in the report does Mr. Wilson indicate that he conducted or had access to an elevation survey of any part of the subject property, and [in] the absence of such, he lacks any basis for concluding that any part of the property lies below the base flood elevation of 628 feet." (Id. ) Defendant notes that he will...

To continue reading

Request your trial
2 cases
  • Robey v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of Florida
    • December 4, 2018
    ... ... Case No. 1:18-cv-21033-UU United States District Court, S.D. Florida. Signed ... , through a website, that the FDIC had taken over Washington Mutual and subsequently sold its ... ...
  • Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC v. 1.30 Acres of Land
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Western District of Virginia
    • September 11, 2019
    ...Courts "generally do not permit juries to consider plats that are prepared after the date of taking." United States v. 1.50 Acres of Land, 343 F. Supp. 3d 1321, 1351 (N.D. Ga. 2018) (citing United States v. 633.07 Acres of Land, 362 F. Supp. 451, 453-54 (M.D. Pa. 1973)). Landowners argue th......

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