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V&E Obtains Verdict Equivalent to Appraiser’s Compensation Estimate In Condemnation Trial

Vinson & Elkins recently won a jury trial for the owner of a refrigerated warehouse whose property was taken by the State of Texas to accommodate a highway expansion project.

At the conclusion of a seven-day trial led by V&E condemnation partners George Murphy and David Wall, a Harris County jury returned a verdict equivalent to the compensation sought by V&E for firm client Beeson Sirota JV through its appraisal expert, Mark Sikes of Deal Sikes and Associates. The jury’s verdict allowed for a net recovery to the client of $8.35 million, which amount is 90 percent above the state’s offer to the property owner during the administrative phase of the case.

The underlying dispute revolved around the state’s U.S. 290 Expansion Project. Through the exercise of its eminent domain powers, the Texas Department of Transportation acquired Beeson Sirota’s warehouse located on four acres on the West Loop in Houston. At a Special Commissioner’s hearing that took place prior to trial, the state offered $4.4 million in compensation, which V&E rejected on behalf of its client.

The case also involved a landlord and tenant disagreement over ownership of refrigeration equipment located at the facility, for which the trial court granted a motion for summary judgment in favor of Beeson Sirota in the summer of 2017.

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