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Introduced House Bill (H)

DIGEST

Eminent domain by public utilities. Defines a "pipeline company" and a "public utility" for purposes of the statute governing the general procedures to be used in acquiring property by eminent domain. Amends the statute with respect to an eminent domain action filed by a public utility or a pipeline company after June 30, 2022, as follows: (1) Provides that the public utility or pipeline company must pay the defendant landowner not less than the amount of damages specified in the court appraisers' report for the property or easement condemned, subject to the landowner's right to file written exceptions to the Eminent domain by public utilities. Defines a "pipeline company" and a "public utility" for purposes of the statute governing the general procedures to be used in acquiring property by eminent domain. Amends the statute with respect to an eminent domain action filed by a public utility or a pipeline company after June 30, 2022, as follows: (1) Provides that the public utility or pipeline company must pay the defendant landowner not less than the amount of damages specified in the court appraisers' report for the property or easement condemned, subject to the landowner's right to file written exceptions to the court appraisers' assessment and proceed to trial. (2) Eliminates a provision in current law exempting a plaintiff public utility or pipeline company from having to pay a defendant's reasonable costs and attorney's fees (not to exceed $25,000) incurred by the defendant in filing an objection to an eminent domain action, if the objection is sustained by a trial court or on appeal. (3) Requires a plaintiff public utility or pipeline company to pay to the circuit court clerk the amount of damages assessed by the court appraisers. (Current law allows a plaintiff in an eminent domain action to pay such amount to the court in order to take possession of and hold interest in the property acquired.) (4) Provides that the plaintiff public utility's or pipeline company's required offer of settlement before trial may not be less than the amount of damages specified in the court appraisers' report for the property or easement condemned. (5) Makes conforming amendments. Amends the statute with respect to an eminent domain action filed by any plaintiff to provide that if there is a trial and the amount of damages awarded to the defendant by the judgment is greater than the amount specified in the plaintiff's last offer of settlement, the court shall award the defendant costs, including reasonable attorney's fees, in an amount not to exceed the fair market value of the defendant's property or easement (versus an amount not to exceed the lesser of: (1) $25,000; or (2) the fair market value of the defendant's property or easement; under current law). ... View more