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Case File: Eminent Domain

Metropolitan Transportation Authority v. Longridge Associates, LP

Court: Appellate Division, Second Department
Citation: 122 AD3d 856, ___NYS2d ____ (2nd Dept., 2014)

Facts: Appellant, Metropolitan Transportation Authority (“MTA”), appealed from a judgment of the Putnam County Supreme Court following a non-jury trial to establish damages for condemnation of property owned by Longridge Associates, LP.

At trial, the Judge rejected the appraisal offered by the MTA and accepted the appraisal offered by Longridge Associates, LP. The MTA appealed.

Holding: The Appellate Division, Second Department affirmed the judgment of the Supreme Court. The Appellate Division held that in a condemnation proceeding, when private property is taken for public use, the condemning authority must compensate the owner so that the owner may be put in the same relative position, insofar as this is possible, as if the taking had not occurred. The measure of damages must reflect the fair market value of the property in its highest and best use on the date of the taking, regardless of whether the property is being put to such use at the time. A property's market value is defined as "`the amount which one desiring but not compelled to purchase will pay under ordinary conditions to a seller who desires but is not compelled to sell. It is necessary to show that there is a reasonable possibility that the property's highest and best asserted use could or would have been made within the reasonably near future, and a use which is no more than a speculative or hypothetical arrangement may not be accepted as the basis for an award. The Court held that the Supreme Court properly rejected the appraisal submitted by the condemnor, MTA, since the evidence demonstrated that the highest and best use of the property was as a retail development, as the claimant's expert concluded, and not as vacant land, as the MTA's expert opined.

Having rejected the appraisal set forth by the MTA, the Supreme Court was bound either to accept the claimant's appraisal or explain the basis for any departure. The claimant's appraiser sufficiently and credibly explained the basis for his selection of comparable properties and relevant adjustments made to the valuation of these properties. Although the court made certain changes to the final results presented in the claimant's appraisal, it adequately explained its reasons for making those changes.


Read the full case here.
More of our other favorite cases here.

Submitted by: Philip Sanchez
Precis: Joel Grossbarth



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