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Mississippi Transportation Commission v. Lewis

June 30, 1998

MISSISSIPPI TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION
v.
LEWIS



Before Thomas, P.j., Diaz, And Herring, JJ.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Thomas, P.j., For The Court:

MISSISSIPPI TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION, APPELLANT v. CHARLES HERBERT LEWIS, IV, AND LAURIE WILKERSON LEWIS, APPELLEES

THIS OPINION IS NOT DESIGNATED FOR PUBLICATION AND MAY NOT BE CITED, PURSUANT TO M.R.A.P. 35-B

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 11/05/96

TRIAL JUDGE: HON. JAMES W. BACKSTROM

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: GEORGE COUNTY SPECIAL COURT OF EMINENT DOMAIN

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - REAL PROPERTY

TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: JURY RENDERED A VERDICT FOR $62,775 AS VALUE OF PROPERTY TO BE TAKEN BY THE STATE.

The Mississippi Transportation Commission appeals a jury verdict of $62,775 for Charles and Laurie Lewis in this eminent domain case, raising the following issues as error:

I. THE COURT ERRED IN ALLOWING THE PROPERTY OWNERS' APPRAISER TO TESTIFY, OVER OBJECTION, TO SALES PRICES OF LOTS RANGING FROM ONE TO FOUR ACRES IN SIZE IN THIS EMINENT DOMAIN CASE INVOLVING AN 80 ACRE PARCEL, AND IN FAILING TO STRIKE SUCH TESTIMONY ON TIMELY MOTION, SINCE SUCH LOTS COULD NOT FAIRLY AND REASONABLY BE USED AS COMPARABLE SALES, THEIR USE COULD ONLY UNREASONABLY MISLEAD, INFLUENCE, AND TAINT THE JURY AND THE APPRAISER ADMITTED HE WAS NOT USING THE SMALL PARCELS AS COMPARABLES.

II. THE JURY VERDICT, WHICH WAS ARRIVED AT IN LESS THAN 18 MINUTES, WAS FOR THE EXACT SUM REQUESTED BY DEFENDANTS, IS SO EXCESSIVE AS TO EVIDENCE BIAS, PASSION, PARTIALITY AND PREJUDICE OF THE JURY FOR DEFENDANTS AND AGAINST PLAINTIFF, AND IS CONTRARY TO THE GREATER WEIGHT OF THE CREDIBLE AND PROPER EVIDENCE.

Finding no error, we affirm.

FACTS

Laurie and Charles Lewis owned a rectangular 79.77 acre parcel located west of State Highway 63 and three miles south of Lucedale, Mississippi. On August 16, 1995, the Mississippi Transportation Commission (Transportation Commission) filed its eminent domain action to take 12. 47 acres of the owners' property diagonally across the middle of the tract, in such ...


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