Eminent Domain

Phelps Dodge Refining Corp. v. State of New York
(click for case PDF)

Court: Court of Claims
Claim No.: 121533; 124695
Plaintiff: Phelps Dodge Refining Corp
Defendant: State of New York

Facts: Plaintiff Phelps Dodge Refining Corp. (“Phelps”) owned three parcels in Queens, New York which were affected by the construction of a bridge by Defendant State of New York (“State”). Following a trial, Phelps made a motion pursuant to EDPL 701 for an additional allowance for attorneys’ fees, expert fees, and costs and disbursements. State opposed the motion. Phelps had originally requested $40 million in damages and its damage theories included cost to cure. State originally offered $4, 123,785. At the trial, the claims for cost to cure were thrown out as well as the damage claims for certain parcels. Phelps was awarded $6,450,000. In this motion, Phelps made claims for $4,503,204 in attorneys’ fees and over $170,000 for appraisal fees.

Holding: The Court determined that given Phelps’ inability to clearly allocate its attorneys’ fees and expert expenses to the parcel which obtained damages, the Court had to apply a strict contingency fee allocation. Since the trial award was substantially more than the State’s original offer, Phelps was entitled to an award under EDPL 701. Phelps was awarded $775,405 in attorneys’ fees, $68,171 in appraisal fees, and costs and disbursements of $104,207 for a total of $947,783.

Submitted by: Phil Sanchez, Esq. www.spnylaw.com

Precis:Davida S. Scher