November 18th, 2010 — By — In News & Events
Arkansas jury awards property owners largest-ever condemnation verdict
In late August of this year, a jury in Benton County, Arkansas awarded $4.67 million to property owners as just compensation for the taking of their private property. The property totaling 19.26 acres was owned by Thomas and Judith Terrell and was taken by eminent domain in order to construct the Bella Vista Toll Facility, also known as the Bella Vista Bypass. According to the Arkansas State Highway & Transportation Department’s public information office, this verdict is the largest ever against the Arkansas State Highway Commission in a condemnation case.
In 2007, the AR Highway commission condemned 19.26 acres which represented only a portion of the Terrell’s 72.89 acres in Bentonville. The property owners’ attorneys successfully argued that this partial taking resulted in severely limited access to the remaining 53.63 acres of the property and damaged the value of the remainder parcel. The Arkansas State Highway Commission offered the Terrells $1,132,100.00 for the acquisition. While the property owners presented valuation evidence totaling $5.6 million dollars as just compensation for the taking.
The Bella Vista Bypass will connect Arkansas and Missouri with an interstate highway that will eventually be part of I-49. The proposed bypass is about 20 miles long, extending from U.S. 71 just south of Bella Vista to U.S. 71 near Pineville, Mo. While there is little media discussion surrounding the highway commission’s low ball offer or this historical jury verdict, a press release announcing the verdict can be found online here.
Mr. and Mrs. Terrell were represented by Michael B. Phillips and Brandon Moffitt of Moffitt & Phillips, PLLC in Little Rock, Arkansas. Moffitt & Phillips is a boutique litigation firm that, among other practices, represents property owners throughout Arkansas in eminent domain proceedings.