Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

UNITED STATES v. 561.14 ACRES OF LAND

April 5, 1962

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
561.14 ACRES OF LAND, MORE OR LESS, IN JOHNSON AND LOGAN COUNTIES, ARKANSAS (TRACT NO. 915), AND THOMAS V. JONES, ET AL., AND UNKNOWN OWNERS, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: John E. Miller, Chief Judge.

The complaint in this case was filed October 17, 1960, along with a declaration of taking. On October 19, 1960, the court entered an order delivering the possession of the various tracts included in the suit to the plaintiff.

On December 15, 1960, Commissioners were appointed as provided by Rule 71A, Fed.R.Civ.P., 28 U.S.C.A., and on March 15, 1962, filed their report herein.

On March 30, 1962, the landowners filed their exceptions to the report of the Commissioners, which included their brief and argument in support of their primary contention that the award of just compensation made by the Commissioners is entirely inadequate. In addition to the contention that the award is inadequate, the landowners contend that the award is contrary to the evidence; the damages awarded were greatly less than the actual amount of the damages caused by the taking of the land, and they are entitled to an award of damages greatly in excess of the amount awarded by the Commissioners.

Their argument is divided into three parts:

    (1) "The report of the Commission is nothing more
  than a simple conclusion as to the value of the lands
  and is inadequate for forming a basis for review and
  should be stricken in its entirety."
    (2) "The Commission erred in determining just
  compensation upon the basis of `the value of the
  entire tract, exclusive of the mineral interest.'"
    (3) "That the Commission erred in failing to award
  to the defendants an amount equal to the reasonable
  market value of the land at the time of the taking."

The Government has not submitted a brief in opposition to the exceptions, but in view of the conclusion of the court, it does not appear necessary to delay the disposition of the exceptions.

In support of the first contention made in the argument, the landowners cite United States v. Cunningham, (4 Cir. 1957), 246 F.2d 330; and United States v. 2,477.79 Acres of Land, etc., in Bell County, Texas, (5 Cir. 1958), 259 F.2d 23, and cases therein cited.

The court has studied the decisions and has no quarrel with the general principle announced therein, but a comparison of the report of the Commissioners in the cases relied upon with the report of the Commissioners in the instant case discloses at once that the report of the Commissioners in the instant case is entirely adequate.

The second and third arguments are completely answered by a consideration of the instant report, which discloses that the entire ownership of the landowners was 370.36 acres, from which the fee in 126.06 acres, with minerals reserved to the owners subordinated to the right of the Government to flood, was taken.

The tract was viewed by the Commissioners on December 4, 1961, after notice to the landowners of the date that the land would be viewed, but neither of the owners accompanied the Commissioners in their view of the property.

A hearing was held at the Courthouse at Clarksville, Arkansas, on March 6, 1962, for the purpose of fixing just compensation. The Government appeared by Robert E. Johnson, Assistant U.S. Attorney, and the landowners appeared by their attorneys, Mr. Sam Sexton and Mr. Marvin Holman.

The land, its location, improvements and characteristics were fully described by at least one witness for the landowners and one for the Government.

Beatrice Johnson, one of the owners, testified that a part of the tract was acquired from her parents who had owned it since 1900 or 1901; that the land thus acquired was creek bottom land on which there were five water wells, all of which were taken by the Government. She valued the land taken at $150.00 per acre, or $18,909.00, and the value of the land remaining before the taking at $50.00 per acre, or $12,215.00, and the value after the taking at $25.00 per acre, or $6,107.50.

John Johnson, the other owner of the land, testified that he had been a farmer and a construction worker, but that he was presently engaged in farming; that he had 71 head of cattle upon the whole tract, and that the best use of the tract is for a cattle ranch. He valued the tract taken at $175.00 per acre, or $22,060.50, and testified that the value of the part not taken was $80.00 per acre before the taking of the 126.06 acres, ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.