The following is a sampling of primarily recent cases Mr. Bowman has successfully resolved either through settlement or trial. The sampling is not exhaustive, but is meant to highlight varied experiences in the eminent domain context. Importantly, the descriptions are brief summaries that do not begin to tell the full story. Every case is unique and the tools used to reach resolution vary accordingly.

The two trial results highlighted represent unique circumstances where the verdicts returned by the juries were significantly higher than the property owners’ expert opinions. In these cases, the defendant owners’ testimony as to the appropriate full compensation set the upper end of the value ranges, which permitted the juries to exceed even the property owners’ own expert opinions. The older case that was tried before a jury is included because of its magnitude and because it provided experience breadth that informs strategies Mr. Bowman uses today. As they say, experience matters.

Road Projects

Florida Department of Transportation v. Krizmanich – Case No.: 2014-002702CI – View the property here.

Given Mr. Bowman’s expertise as an appraiser, when appropriate he uses his valuation skills, which can save costs and often results in higher full compensation for the property owner. This case was such a circumstance where no appraiser was engaged. The taking consisted of 7,692 square feet from a site a little more than an acre—44,108 square feet to be exact. Drive Time was a tenant on the property and did not renew its lease given the forthcoming taking. The taking is depicted here. The Department offered $343,900 for the taking and damages to the remainder. A global settlement was negotiated at $1,212,500, which included the entire property being conveyed to the Department, and included attorneys’ fees and costs. The Stipulated Final Judgment is available for review here.

Florida Department of Transportation v. Land Trust 5018 – Case No.: 2015-CA-497 – View the abbreviated parent tract here.

This case involved property situated along the south side of State Road 82 on both the east and west sides of Daniels Parkway in Lee County. The taking consisted of small clips from a much larger parent tract for the improvement of Florida’s first Continuous Flow Intersection (See the proposed CFI here). The Department offered $134,200 initially. The case settled for $3,100,000, including fees and costs. Significantly, access was going to be impaired to the point that a contract purchaser for the commercially-suited portion of the property terminated its contract. In spite of the referenced contract termination, access concessions were also successfully negotiated as part of the settlement. The details of the settlement can be reviewed in the Stipulated Final Judgment, which is available here.

Florida Department of Transportation v. Bates Show Sales Staff, Inc. – Case No.: 2016-CA-003319 – View the property here.

A strip taking from an RV dealership was the focus of this case. RV display area was impacted by the planned construction of a 32-inch retaining wall across a portion of the property’s frontage along U.S. Business 41 in Venice. Here is a sketch of the taking. The Department offered $103,400 initially. The case settled for $850,000, excluding fees and costs. The Stipulated final judgment is available for review here.

Utility Projects

Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC v. Smoak Family Limited Partnership – Presuit 2015 – View the property here.

Similar to the Sumter, LLC case highlighted below, Sabal needed easements for its natural gas pipeline. The route of the pipeline is shown here. An offer of $51,920 was offered initially by the pipeline company. The matter ultimately settled at $850,000, including fees and costs. Again, no appraiser was engaged by the property owner.

Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC v. Sumter, LLC – Presuit 2016 – View the property here.

Sabal needed permanent and temporary easements for the installation of its 36-inch underground natural gas pipeline. The pipeline, which comprised a little less than a mile, is depicted on the aerial here. Heavy equipment crossing points were negotiated along the majority of the proposed pipeline route. The pipeline offered $179,790 initially, which ultimately was increased to $1,125,000 for the ultimate global settlement. Again, in this case no appraiser was engaged and Mr. Bowman prepared the valuation analyses.

Environmental Restoration

South Florida Water Management District v. Cook – Case No.: 2011-CA-002067 – View the property here.

Mr. Cook’s 45-acre property was located adjacent to the Southern Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed (We called it SCREW), which was needed for its expansion. Our Firm fought the taking in a two-week trial before a Lee County circuit court judge challenging the public purpose and reasonable necessity for the project. The Court denied our challenge, which enabled the District to condemn using its eminent domain power. The District offered $244,000 for the property initially. The case settled for $1,723,875, excluding fees and costs. The Stipulated Final Judgment is available for review here. This case is noteworthy because it settled for a significant amount based on a date of taking by the District that occurred during the peak of the Great Recession.

Trial Verdicts

Jacksonville Port Authority v. Keystone Properties, LLC and Keystone Coal Company – Case No.: 2005-CA-007802 – View the property here.

Mr. Bowman’s role is this case was as second chair. His most significant contribution was the cross-examination of the port authority’s main appraisal witness. Jaxport wanted to expand its port holdings along the St. John’s River in Jacksonville. It chose Keystone’s 70-acre property and an adjacent smaller property as its proposed bulk commodities shipping terminal. Jaxport’s initial offer in the case was $15,225,000. At the full compensation jury trial, Keystone’s expert testimony was $57,700,000, yet the jury returned a verdict of $67,410,000. The Final Judgment and Verdict are here. The extremely complex nature of the case is gleaned by the Order Denying Jaxport’s Motion for a New Trial, which is found here. In the end, Jaxport decided not to follow through with its condemnation and chose not to pay the Judgment. The case settled after both sides began the appellate process, with the property owner retaining ownership of his original property and acquiring from Jaxport the adjacent smaller property, which became Jaxport’s property when the predecessor owners settled with Jaxport.

South Florida Water Management District v. Myers – Case No.: 2016-CA-6850 – View the property here.

The District condemned five acres that represented the Myers’ homestead for environmental restoration purposes in the Collier County-located Picayune Strand State Forest. The District’s initial offer was $84,000. At the jury trial, the Myer’s expert appraiser testified that full compensation should be $283,000. The jury returned a verdict of $650,000. The District appealed the final judgment, but wound up dismissing the appeal and paying the judgment, except for post-judgment interest, which was compromised. The Final Judgment and Verdict are available for review here. An underlying and important issue in this case was blight. For decades the government hindered the development potential in the area via its acquisitions and regulatory shroud. A pretrial ruling by the Court enabled the property owners to present this blight evidence to the jury in spite of the District’s attempt to exclude it from the jury. The Court’s order on blight is found here.

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