Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

United States v. 14.38 Acres of Land

ELR Citation: 31 ELR 20618
Nos. No. 00-60154, 254 F.3d 71/(5th Cir., 05/04/2001)

The court affirms a district court's refusal to grant attorneys fees and costs under the Equal Access to Justice Act to a landowner who prevailed in recovering severance damages from the government in compensation for the diminution in value of the remainder of his land following a condemnation taking of another, contiguous portion of his property. The landowner and the government agreed on just compensation for the property actually taken but could not agree on severance damages to the remaining property. The case, therefore, proceeded to trial. Despite testimony from the government's expert witnesses, the jury awarded the landowner severance damages for the land not taken. Although the landowner prevailed, the district court denied his request for fees and costs because the government was substantially justified in the position it took in the litigation. The court holds that despite the landowner's protestations and his criticism of the methodology and conclusions of the government's experts, the district court committed no error of fact or law in its underlying findings and reasonings, and did not abuse its discretion in its ultimate determination that the government was substantially justified. Therefore, the court affirms the denial of the landowner's motion for attorney fees and costs.

The full text of this decision is available from ELR (4 pp., ELR Order No. L-369).

[Counsel not available at this printing.]