Recent Cases

Recent Eminent Domain/Condemnation Cases Handled By Hartsoe

City of Knoxville v. Spirit Master Funding II, LLC, Mid-South Title Corporation, Trustee for CitiBank, N.A., JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., and American Huts, Inc. (Knox County Circuit Court)

The City of Knoxville took this Pizza Hut location that was owned by a real estate investment trust (REIT) based in Phoenix, Arizona. After the matter was set for trial, the parties resolved the case at a judicial settlement conference conducted by one of the Knox County Circuit Court Judges.

First Utility District v. Mailen (Knox County Circuit Court)

The First Utility District condemned a portion of a family farm located in the Concord section of west Knox County. The property had been owned by the family prior to the Civil War and was the location of Civil War encampments during the Battle of Farragut. The First Utility District condemned the property to expand the First Utility District Waste Water Treatment Facility and had plans to install two football field sized settling basins. The condemning authority deposited $467,000.00 into court as their version of “fair market value.” After extensive discovery and pretrial litigation, the case settled several days before trial after First Utility District agreed to pay the landowners an additional $1,032,000.00.

Gatlinburg Airport Authority v. Summitt (Sevier County Circuit Court)

The Gatlinburg Airport Authority filed a condemnation case against the Summit family to take 25 acres of their family farm for a proposed runway extension. The defendant landowners filed an objection to the taking and raised environmental and other grounds challenging the necessity of the taking. Usually, an Order of Possession is entered within thirty days of the service of the Petition for Condemnation. In this case, no Order of Possession was entered for the next four years despite repeated attempts by the Airport Authority to do so. Numerous depositions and other pretrial discovery were undertaken on behalf of the Summitt family. After several attempts at settlement and mediation, the parties ultimately agreed to a greatly reduced taking which permitted the continued ownership and agricultural use of a significant portion of the property that was initially sought to be condemned.

Tennessee Department of Transportation v. Knoxville Poultry and Egg Company (Chicken City) (Knox County Circuit Court)

The Tennessee Department of Transportation condemned this property as part of the widening of Interstate 40 through Knoxville (SmartFix 40). The project had been announced for over 10 years and the State sought to suggest that the property was rundown based on the lack of upkeep and maintenance (pre-condemnation blight). Prior to the trial, a settlement was reached wherein the landowners (the Harrison family) received an increase of $155,000.00 which was a 1/3 increase over what TDOT had deposited into Court.

Tennessee Department of Transportation v. Cargo Oil Company (Knox County Circuit Court)

The Tennessee Department of Transportation sought to condemn this convenience store/gas station for the Alcoa Highway road widening project. Cargo Oil objected to the condemnation, asserting that it was arbitrary and capricious to proceed with the involuntary taking without having the government construction funding in place and environmental work completed. After the landowner, Cargo Oil Company, filed an objection to the taking and sought to take depositions and written discovery on this issue the Tennessee Department of Transportation agreed to non-suit the case until the property was actually needed for the roadway improvement project.

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