2005 Regular Session
To: Judiciary, Division A
By: Senator(s) Dearing
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 11-27-13, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT AN EMINENT DOMAIN TRIAL MAY BE WITHOUT A JURY IF ALL PARTIES WHO MAKE AN APPEARANCE IN THE ACTION CONSENT TO THE ACTION BEING TRIED BY THE COURT; TO PROVIDE THAT IF NO LANDOWNER OR INTERESTED PARTY MAKES AN APPEARANCE IN THE ACTION, TRIAL MAY BE WITHOUT A JURY UPON APPLICATION OF THE PETITIONER, AND JUST COMPENSATION MAY BE AWARDED BY THE COURT UPON PRESENTATION OF EVIDENCE OF JUST COMPENSATION BY THE PETITIONER; TO AMEND SECTIONS 11-27-3, 11-27-19, 11-27-23 AND 11-27-89, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, IN CONFORMITY THERETO; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 11-27-13, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
11-27-13. Each different property, identified by separate ownership, shall constitute a separate civil action and shall require a separate trial, unless otherwise agreed by all parties with the approval of the court. Trial shall be to a jury of twelve (12) persons plus alternates who shall be examined and impaneled in accordance with the Mississippi Rules of Civil Procedure. Alternatively, trial may be to the courtif all parties who make an appearance in the action consent to the action being tried by the court. If no landowner or interested party makes an appearance in the action, trial may be to the court upon application by the petitioner, and just compensation may be awarded by the court upon presentation by the petitioner of evidence of just compensation.
SECTION 2. Section 11-27-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
11-27-3. A special court of eminent domain is hereby created, to consist of a judge, jury, if a jury is necessary, and such other officers and personnel as hereinafter set out, and it shall have and exercise the jurisdiction and powers hereinafter enumerated. The original powers and jurisdiction shall be and is hereby fixed in the county court in each county that has elected to come under the provisions of Section 9-9-1, Mississippi Code of 1972, or that may hereafter come under the provisions of said Section 9-9-1, and in every other county of this state, the original powers and jurisdiction shall be and is hereby fixed in the circuit court of such county, which said powers and jurisdiction may be exercised in full either in termtime or vacation, or both.
SECTION 3. Section 11-27-19, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
11-27-19. Evidence may be introduced by either party, and the jury may, in the sound discretion of the judge, go to the premises, under the charge of the court as to conduct, conversation and actions as may be proper in the premises. Evidence of fair market value shall be established as of the date of the filing of the complaint. Any judgment finally entered in payment for property to be taken shall provide legal interest on the award of the jury from the date of the filing of the complaint until payment is actually made; provided, however, that interest need not be paid on any funds deposited by the plaintiff and withdrawn by the defendants prior to judgment. At the conclusion of the trial, the court shall instruct the jury in accordance with the Mississippi Rules of Civil Procedure, if a jury was impaneled.
SECTION 4. Section 11-27-23, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
11-27-23. In the trial of all cases provided for herein in which a jury is impaneled, nine (9) jurors may bring in a verdict as in other civil cases. The verdict of the jury shall be in the following form: "We, the jury, find that the defendant (naming him) will be damaged by the acquisition of his property for the public use, in the sum of ____________ Dollars."
SECTION 5. Section 11-27-89, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
11-27-89. The appraiser shall receive as compensation for his services such sum, plus expenses, as the courtallows, which shall be taxed as cost in the proceedings. The sum allowed shall be based upon the degree of difficulty and the time required to perform the appraisal, but may not exceed One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) unless, in the opinion of the court, special circumstances warrant a greater sum. An order granting a sum greater than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) must describe in detail the special circumstances that warrant payment of a greater sum.
The making of a deposit by the plaintiff or the withdrawal of said deposit by the defendant or defendants shall not prejudice the right of any party to a trial * * * in the special court of eminent domain to determine the fair market value of the property to be condemned and the damages, if any, to the remainder if less than the whole is taken, as provided in Sections 11-27-1 through 11-27-49, Mississippi Code of 1972.
SECTION 6. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2005.