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City of Jacksonville v. Nixon

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division III

September 24, 2014

CITY OF JACKSONVILLE, ARKANSAS, APPELLANT
v.
GRAHAM DEWITT NIXON, WALTER W. NIXON III, and DANA NIXON, APPELLEES

Page 907

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 908

APPEAL FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FIFTH DIVISION. NO. 60CV-10-5486. HONORABLE WENDELL L. GRIFFEN, JUDGE.

Robert E. Bamburg, for appellant.

Giles Law Firm, P.A., by: Stephen P. Giles, for appellees.

WOOD and BROWN, JJ., agree.

OPINION

Page 909

ROBERT J. GLADWIN, Chief Judge.

This eminent-domain action returns to this court after a previous dismissal for lack of a final order. City of Jacksonville v. Nixon, 2013 Ark.App. 302. The City of Jacksonville (" City" ) claims that the circuit court's order merits reversal because of an irregularity in the proceedings and improper damages awards. After considering each of the City's arguments, we affirm the circuit court's ruling in its entirety.

On September 17, 2010, and pursuant to Arkansas Code Annotated section 18-15-201 (Repl. 2003), the City filed an application for condemnation and a request for immediate possession against several defendants including Graham Dewitt Nixon, Walter W. Nixon III, and Dana Nixon (" Nixons" ). The City sought partial condemnation of twelve parcels of property for the Graham Road Project. The project would create a four-lane road with sidewalks and replace and relocate utility lines. The Nixons owned three parcels of the land to be condemned--Tracts 35, 36, and 74. The circuit court issued an order of immediate possession on September 28, 2010. Later, an amended and agreed order of immediate possession was filed wherein the Nixons agreed that the City had the authority to take immediate possession of their property but reserved adjudication of their additional monetary-damages claims.

The circuit court held a bench trial to determine the Nixons' just compensation and awarded the Nixons a total of $73,868.84 in damages in an order entered on April 3, 2012. The City appealed the circuit court's order, and this court dismissed the appeal because the order was not final. City of Jacksonville, supra. Upon return to the circuit court, a judgment and Rule 54(b) certificate were entered as to the Nixons on September 26, 2013. The substance of this judgment was the same as the order rendered in April 2012. The City's timely appeal followed.

I. Standard of Review

In reviewing the findings after a bench trial, we reverse only if the findings are clearly erroneous or clearly against the preponderance of the evidence. CenterPoint Energy Gas Transmission Co. v. Green, 2012 Ark.App. 326, at 9, 413 S.W.3d 867, 873. A finding is clearly erroneous when, although there is evidence to support it, the reviewing court on the ...


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