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August 19th, 2014 — By — In News & Events

A Mississippi Jury Awards Bayfront Restaurant Owners $644K Just Compensation in Inverse Condemnation Action Against the State

The view from the back of Dan B's busy restaurant overlooking the deck and Bay St. Louis before Hurricane Katrina.

The view from the back of Dan B’s busy restaurant overlooking the deck and Bay St. Louis before Hurricane Katrina.

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed Dan B’s Restaurant and Bar on Beach Boulevard in downtown Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.  The popular beach front restaurant owned by the Murphy family featured a large deck on the beach overlooking the Bay of St. Louis.

Dan B's deck and restaurant as viewed from the water's edge the day before Katrina made landfall (Aug. 28, 2005).

Dan B’s deck and restaurant as viewed from the water’s edge the day before Katrina made landfall (Aug. 28, 2005).

After the storm, a new small boat harbor was included as part of the redevelopment plan for the downtown area by the City of Bay St. Louis and the State of Mississippi. An access ramp and parking facilities for the new harbor were planned on property owned by the Murphy’s and several other downtown property owners.  The State of Mississippi, however, claimed the land was public tidelands of the State of Mississippi.  Construction began on the project and no compensation was paid to the Murphy family for their property.

Brothers Kenneth, Ray and Audie Murphy sought out an experienced eminent domain and property rights attorney to assist them in their legal claims against the government.  They retained OCA Mississippi Member Paul R. Scott of the firm of Smith, Phillips, Mitchell, Scott & Nowak, LLP to file an inverse condemnation suit on their behalf.

Trial began on Tuesday August 12, 2014 in Hancock County, Mississippi.  On Monday, August 18, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the Murphys and against the State of Mississippi in the amount of $644,000.00 for the taking of their property.  The State never made an offer of compensation for their property.

The view from the Murphy property in the "after condition" as construction was ongoing on the harbor (background) and access bridge (foreground).

The view from the Murphy property in the “after condition” as construction was ongoing on the harbor (background) and access bridge (foreground).

The case is Murphy v. State of Mississippi, et. al., Cause No. 12-0453 in the Circuit Court of Hancock County, Mississippi.

*Updated 8/20/14 to include the images above of the Murphy property involved in this inverse condemnation action.