Holcomb Dunbar Client Wins Appeal
In a nine to zero opinion, the Mississippi Supreme Court reversed and remanded a case in favor of Holcomb Dunbar client, making new law in the process.
Holcomb Dunbar Attorneys Mike Watts and Brad Golmon were retained in an eminent domain action. At trial there was a stark variance between the “quick take” deposit, in the sum of $380,300.00, and the sum of the just compensation position taken by the Mississippi Transportation Commission in the amount of only $289,400.00. The landowner attempted to enter into evidence public records from the Court’s own file showing the sum of the “quick take” deposit and the notation of a fair market value offer in the larger amount. That attempt was denied by the Court. When the landowner subsequently attempted to ask Mississippi Transportations Commission’s expert witness about any prior appraisal or the time frame of the appraisal, MTC objected and the Trial Court sustained the objection, denying the jury the right to hear this potential impeachment.
On appeal, Holcomb Dunbar successfully argued on behalf of its client that the denial to cross examine the valuation expert about the conflicting values was a manifest injustice requiring reversal. The court agreed, “we find Coleman is correct in her assertion that the trial judge’s exclusion of the initial appraisal and cross-examination thereon was reversible error.
In addition, the Court held that pre-suit offers by the condemning party are fully admissable and are not subject to Rule 408’s application for offers of settlement.