EVIDENCE OF UNCONSUMMATED SETTLEMENT MAY BE ADMITTED WHEN INTRODUCED BY THE CONDEMNEE

THE REDEVELOPMENT LAND AGENCY (RLA) CONDEMNED A LARGE AREA IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FOR USE IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF PUBLIC HOUSING. INCLUDED WITHIN THIS AREA WAS THE CLAIMANT'S PARKING LOT AND A JUNKYARD OWNED BY ANOTHER INDIVIDUAL SOME 100 FEET AWAY. THE RLA AT TRIAL QUOTED A VALUE OF $2 PER SQUARE FOOT FOR THE PARKING LOT. THE CLAIMANT WAS PERMITTED TO INTRODUCE A SETTLEMENT NEGOTIATION BASED ON $5 PER SQUARE FOOT FOR THE JUNKYARD PROPERTY. THE JURY RETURNED A VERDICT BETWEEN TWO AND FIVE DOLLARS PER SQUARE FOOT FOR THE CLAIMANT. THE RLA APPEALED. THE U.S. CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS AFFIRMED THE ADMISSION OF THE SETTLEMENT FIGURE. JUDGE TAMM DISSENTED ON THE GROUNDS THAT THE SETTLEMENT NEGOTIATIONS HAD NOT REACHED THE DEGREE OF FINALITY AT WHICH THEY COULD FAIRLY BE USED AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT IN A SEPARATE PROCEEDING. THE GOVERNMENT APPLIED FOR A RE-HEARING EN BANC WHICH WAS DENIED. THE ORDER DENYING THE RE-HEARING WAS ACCOMPANIED BY AN EXPANSIVE CONCURRENCE BY JUDGE MCGOWAN WHICH ATTEMPTED TO EXPLAIN THE BASIS FOR THE DENIAL AND STATE THE GOVERNING LAW IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. THE MAJOR POINT OF CONTENTION APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN WHETHER THE GENERAL RULE PREVENTING INTRODUCTION OF COMPARABLE SALES CONSUMMATED UNDER COERCION OF CONDEMNATION APPLIES WITH EQUAL FORCE TO BOTH THE CONDEMNOR AND THE CONDEMNEE. A LANDOWNER IS ENTITLED TO COMPENSATION FOR THE VALUE HIS LAND WOULD HAVE UNDER NORMAL MARKET CONDITIONS EXISTING AT THE TIME OF THE APPROPRIATION. THERE APPEARS NO REASON TO PREVENT USE OF SUCH SETTLEMENTS IF THE CONDEMNEE IS WILLING TO ACCEPT THE PRICE. ANY OTHER RESULT WOULD PERMIT THE CONDEMNING AUTHORITY TO HIDE BEHIND THE COERCIVE EFFECT OF ITS OWN POWER OF EMINENT DOMAIN. NASH V. D.C. REDEVELOPMENT LAND AGENCY, 395 F. 2D 571 (D.C. CIR. 1968).

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • No 98, pp 6-7
  • Publication Date: 1969-6

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  • Accession Number: 00238707
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 29 1994 12:00AM