United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Oxford Division
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA upon the relation and for the use of the TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY PLAINTIFF
TREE REMOVAL RIGHTS WITH RESPECT TO LAND IN MARSHALL COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI; NATHANIEL LESUEUR; BANK OF HOLLY SPRINGS; and WILLIAM F. SCHNELLER, trustee DEFENDANTS
M. BROWN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
condemnation action is before the Court on the
“Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment.”
11, 2017, the United States of America, upon the relation and
for the use of the Tennessee Valley Authority
(“TVA”), filed a complaint in this Court
“for the taking of property under the power of eminent
domain and for the ascertainment and award of just
compensation to the owners and parties in interest.”
Doc. #1 at ¶ 1. Specifically, TVA seeks to take for
public use tree-removal rights of land located in Marshall
County, Mississippi (“Property”). Id. at
¶ 5; Doc. #1-1. The complaint lists as defendants (1)
Nathaniel Lesueur, the owner of the Property; (2) the Bank of
Holly Springs, a holder of a lien on the Property under two
deeds of trust; and (3) William F. Schneller, the designated
trustee of the deeds of trust. Doc. #1 at ¶ 6.
July 11, 2017, TVA filed a “Declaration of
Taking” signed by Elizabeth Birdwell from its General
Counsel's Office, Doc. #2; and a “Notice of
Condemnation” identifying the Property and the
defendants, Doc. #3. The following day, TVA deposited five
hundred dollars into the Court's registry.
August 2, 2017, TVA filed a “Notice of Completion of
Service of Pleadings upon All Defendants as of July 28, 2017,
” representing that the complaint, the Declaration of
Taking, and the Notice of Condemnation were all served on the
defendants. Doc. #7. On August 3, 2017, TVA filed
“Plaintiff's Motion for Entry of an Order of
Immediate Possession” and an accompanying memorandum.
Docs. #8, #9. The motion and memorandum include certificates
of service reflecting that each was mailed to the defendants.
The defendants did not respond to the motion.
October 16, 2017, this Court granted the motion for immediate
possession. Doc. #13. Subsequently, on June 12, 2018, TVA
filed a motion for summary judgment seeking to establish that
$500 represents just compensation for the taken property.
Doc. #19. Approximately six weeks after the summary judgment
motion's filing, Lesueur, acting pro se, filed an
“Answer” which both disputes the propriety of
summary judgment and purports to assert a counterclaim
against TVA. Doc. #24. TVA answered Lesueur's
counterclaim and filed a reply in support of its motion for
summary judgment. Docs. #30, #31.
Judgment in Condemnation Proceedings
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 71.1, the rule which
governs condemnation proceedings in federal court:
In an action involving eminent domain under federal law, the
court tries all issues, including compensation, except when
compensation must be determined:
(A) by any tribunal specially constituted by a federal
statute to determine compensation; or
(B) if there is no such tribunal, by a jury when a party
demands one within the time to answer or within any
additional time the court sets, unless ...