Frustrated by a low final offer, a local family-owned Partnership, Land Rover, Ltd., and its attorney, Tyler Milton, a partner with Dawson & Sodd, LLP, decided to take a stand and defend its Constitutional right to just compensation.
The dispute began in 2011, when Texas Midstream sued family-owned Land Rover, Ltd. to condemn two permanent pipeline easements and two temporary construction easements for a high pressure gas pipeline from two non-contiguous commercial properties, owned by the family partnership since 1990, located just south of Interstate 30 at the intersection of South Cherry Lane and Calmont Avenue in west Fort Worth. The easements traverse the entire road frontage for both tracts, requiring written preapproval from the pipeline company prior to any development activity within the easements. When the case reached trial in April 2015, Texas Midstream claimed it owed Land Rover only about $260,000. Land Rover’s experts countered that the total just compensation exceeded $1.4 million dollars and should properly account not only for the road-front permanent easement strips, but also for the significant loss in value to the remaining property created by both the permanent and temporary construction easements (13.2 percent of the properties) and the restrictions on development resulting from these easements (including the potential inability to access the properties). Dawson & Sodd attorneys Tyler Milton, Matt Hurt, and Jody McSpadden tried the case for the landowner.
At the conclusion of the week-and-a-half-long trial in County Court at Law No. 1 in Tarrant County, six jurors unanimously awarded the family partnership $1.28 million dollars, 8.27 times the original offer of $154,700. Judge Don Pierson entered a final judgment awarding Land Rover $1.51 million, which included pre-judgment interest, post-judgment interest, and court costs. The net recovery to the landowner, after attorney fees and trial and litigation expenses, was $1 million (inclusive of the Special Commissioners’ Award).