2005 Regular Session
To: Judiciary A
By: Representative Evans, Straughter
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTIONS 11-27-7 AND 11-27-19, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT PARTIES DEFENDING EMINENT DOMAIN PROCEEDINGS SHALL RECOVER COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH PROVING PROPERTY VALUE; TO AMEND SECTION 11-27-37, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, IN CONFORMITY; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 11-27-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
11-27-7. The complaint shall be filed with the circuit clerk and shall be assigned a number and placed on the docket as other pleadings in circuit court or county court. The plaintiff shall also file a lis pendens notice in the office of the chancery clerk immediately after filing the complaint. The circuit clerk, or the plaintiff by his attorney, shall forthwith present such complaint to the circuit judge or county judge, as the case may be, who shall by written order directed to the circuit clerk fix the time and place for the hearing of the matter, in termtime or vacation, and the time of hearing shall be fixed on a date to allow sufficient time for each defendant named to be served with process as is otherwise provided by the Mississippi Rules of Civil Procedure, for not less than thirty (30) days prior to the hearing. If a defendant, or other party in interest, shall not be served for the specified time prior to the date fixed, the hearing shall be continued to a day certain to allow the thirty-day period specified. Not less than twenty (20) days prior to the date fixed for such hearing, the plaintiff shall file with the circuit clerk and serve upon the defendants, or their respective attorneys, a statement showing: (1) the fair market value of the property to be condemned, determined as of the date of the filing of the complaint; (2) the damages, if any, to the remainder if less than the whole is taken, giving a total compensation and damages to be due as determined by the plaintiff. Not less than ten (10) days prior to the date fixed for such hearing, each of the defendants shall file with the circuit clerk and serve upon the plaintiff, or his attorney, a statement showing: (1) the fair market value of the property to be condemned, determined as of the date of the filing of the complaint, including all costs associated with proving the fair market value; (2) the damages, if any, to the remainder if less than the whole is taken, giving a total compensation and damages to be due as determined by the defendants. In each such instance, both the plaintiff and the defendant shall set out in such statement the asserted highest and best use of the property and shall itemize the elements of damage, if any, to the remainder if less than the whole is taken. The statements required by this section shall constitute the pleadings of the parties with respect to the issue of value, and shall be treated as pleadings are treated in civil actions in the circuit court. The judge, for good cause shown, may increase or decrease the time for pleading by the plaintiff or by the defendant.
SECTION 2. 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. Judgment shall also compensate all costs incurred by a defendant in the eminent domain proceedings to establish the value of the property regardless of whether the defendant prevails in the proceedings. At the conclusion of the trial, the court shall instruct the jury in accordance with the Mississippi Rules of Civil Procedure.
SECTION 3. Section 11-27-37, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
11-27-37. In case the plaintiff shall fail to pay the damages and costs awarded to the defendant within ninety (90) days from the date of the rendering of the final judgment, if such judgment is not appealed from, or in case the suit shall be dismissed by the plaintiff except pursuant to settlement, or the judgment be that the plaintiff is not entitled to a judgment condemning property, the defendant shall recover of the plaintiff in an action brought therefor all reasonable expenses, including attorneys' fees, incurred by him in defending the suit.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2005.