SHELBY COUNTY v. JAMES CREWS, ET AL. - Articles

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Posted by: Chandra Williams on Dec 14, 2015

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Bruce D. Brooke and Ross Dyer, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Shelby County, Tennessee.

Attorneys 2:

Irma Merrill Stratton, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellees, James M. Crews, Jr., Margaret Crews Warren, John T. Crews, L. Dow Crews, Ann Hooks Johnson, and Ormond Crews, III.

Judge(s): GOLDIN

This is the second appeal in this condemnation proceeding in which Shelby County (“the County”) sought to condemn a parcel of real property owned by the Appellees. The original appeal involved our review of the trial court’s decision to allow the County to nonsuit its case after a consent order had already been entered granting it ownership in fee simple. We concluded that the entry of voluntary dismissal was inappropriate where (1) the trial court had already granted the County ownership and (2) only the issue of compensation was left to be decided. We accordingly remanded the case for a determination as to the amount of compensation to be paid. Following the remand, the County moved for summary judgment asserting that it was entitled to relief under an adverse possession theory and Tennessee Code Annotated section 28-2-110. The trial court denied this motion. The case was later set for trial to determine the amount of compensation owed as a result of the condemnation. In response to statements made by the County’s counsel during trial concerning the County’s need for the property, the trial court sustained an oral motion made by the Appellees’ counsel to dismiss the condemnation proceeding. A formal order of dismissal was entered in July 2012, pursuant to which the trial court transferred all title to the property from the County back to the Appellees. In the same order, the trial court reserved several issues for later ruling, including the assessment of damages, costs, and credits. After orders were eventually entered resolving these reserved issues, the County filed a timely notice of appeal. Having considered the issues raised on appeal, we reverse the trial court’s dismissal of the condemnation action, transfer title to the property at issue back to the County, and remand for further proceedings consistent with this Opinion.
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