Jury finds for landowner in Tippah County eminent domain case

By Southern Sentinel

RIPLEY – In the first eminent domain case to come to trial as part of the Mississippi Highway 15 four-lane project, a Tippah County jury ruled in favor of the landowner.
After a two day trial last week, a jury voted unanimously to award $40,000 to Randle Miskelly as just compensation for the taking of 5.38 acres of land for the four-lane project.
His property is located north of Falkner near the town limits.
Eminent domain is the process where the government takes private land for public use. According to the Mississippi Constitution, the landowner must be paid just compensation for the land taken.
In the trial, the Mississippi Transportation Commission alleged that Miskelly was entitled to $4,000 per acre for the land to be taken but claimed that the remaining part of Miskelly’s land did not lose any value.
However, Miskelly’s expert appraiser testified that the remaining property lost more than 30 percent of its value after the highway property was removed.
The jury deliberated less than 20 minutes before siding with Miskelly.