City-parish may ask La. Supreme Court to hear expropriation case
The East Baton Rouge Parish Attorney's Office is considering asking the Louisiana Supreme Court to take up a disputed expropriation case involving property at the corner of South Harrell's Ferry Road and O'Neal Lane, formerly home to Jay's Donuts, says attorney Leo D'Aubin, who is overseeing the case for the parish attorney's office.
The valuation of the expropriated property and just compensation for business losses are what's in dispute—as well as who's qualified to make the appraisal.
The city-parish originally offered Jay's Donuts owner Jay Lindsey $599,000 in March 2010 for the land, which it needed for nearby roadway work included in the Green Light Plan.
That amount was bumped up to $887,805—plus nearly $56,000 in attorney's fees—in a trial court judgment from February 2011. However, Lindsey was seeking $1.5 million at the trial, which was the valuation one of his witnesses, Michael Daigle, had given the property.
The trial court refused to qualify Daigle as an expert witness at that time, but on Feb. 10 an appeals court reversed that decision and remanded it back to the trial court.
The parish attorney's office has 30 days from the ruling to file a writ with the Louisiana Supreme Court. D'Aubin says the parish attorney's office was surprised at the appeals court ruling, adding it still believes Daigle does not qualify as an expert witness and that his valuation should not be accepted as testimony. He says the option of filing a writ with the state Supreme Court is still on the table.
"If they don't take the writ out, then I'm going to ask that it be scheduled for trial again," says Lindsey's attorney Lawrence Marino. "We're pretty much back to square one on this."
Marino says Daigle does qualify as an expert witness according to precedent set by previous cases before the supreme court.
Jay's Donuts closed in the summer of 2010 after more than 20 years in business at the corner of South Harrell's Ferry and O'Neal.
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