Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Department of Transportation v. Hutchinsons, LLC

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

May 7, 2019

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, Plaintiff,
v.
HUTCHINSONS, LLC, Defendant.

          Heard in the Court of Appeals 16 January 2019

          Appeal by Defendant from judgment entered 14 December 2017 by Judge Susan E. Bray in Wilkes County No. 15-CVS-1056 Superior Court.

          Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Assistant Attorney General Alexandra M. Hightower, for the Plaintiff-Appellee.

          Sever-Storey, LLP, by Shiloh Daum, for the Defendant-Appellant.

          DILLON, JUDGE.

         This is a condemnation action brought by Plaintiff Department of Transportation ("DOT") for the partial taking of land owned by Defendant Hutchinsons, LLC ("Hutchinsons"). On the day the trial in the matter had been scheduled, the trial court heard various motions filed by Hutchinsons, primarily concerning Hutchinsons' position that DOT took more interests in its property than DOT had claimed. The trial court denied or dismissed those motions. The trial court proceeded, and subsequently entered judgment awarding Hutchinsons no further damages than the amount of DOT's deposit. Hutchinsons appeals from various orders considered the day of trial and from the final judgment. After careful review, we affirm.

         I. Background

         This action concerns certain property in Wilkes County which straddles North Carolina Highway 268 (the "Property") owned by Hutchinsons.

         In September 2015, DOT commenced this action against Hutchinsons, condemning part of the Property for the widening of Highway 268.

         Approximately eleven (11) months later, in August 2016, Hutchinsons filed its Answer.

         The matter was eventually assigned a trial date of 21 August 2017. However, about a month before the scheduled trial date, Hutchinsons requested a continuance. The trial court granted the request, setting 4 December 2017 as the new trial date.

         A few days before the scheduled 4 December 2017 trial, Hutchinsons filed three motions. These motions were based primarily on its belief that, during the course of the highway widening project, DOT had taken additional interests in the Property, that is, interests outside of the interests indicated in DOT's complaint. Specifically, Hutchinsons moved: (1) to amend its pleading to add an inverse condemnation claim for the alleged additional taking; (2) for a Section 108 hearing[1] to determine the actual areas/interests in the Property taken (the "Section 108 motion"); and (3) for a continuance of the trial.

         On 4 December 2017, the date the matter was scheduled for trial, the trial court heard Hutchinsons' three motions. During the hearing, the trial court orally dismissed the Section 108 motion and denied the two other motions. The trial court then reduced its ruling on the two denied motions to written orders but did not immediately reduce its dismissal of the Section 108 hearing motion to writing. Hutchinsons then submitted a written notice of appeal of "the Order entered" and a motion for a stay of any further proceedings pending the appeal. The trial court denied Hutchinsons' motion for a stay and proceeded to consider the issue of damages.

         The next day, on 5 December 2017, the trial court entered a written order dismissing Hutchinsons' motion for a Section 108 hearing. The trial court also entered a written order striking Hutchinsons' original Answer as a sanction for certain discovery violations.

         The following week, on 14 December 2017, the trial court entered a final judgment for DOT in the amount of its initial deposit, thereby awarding Hutchinsons no further damages for the taking described in DOT's Complaint, based on the fact that Hutchinsons' Answer challenging the amount of the deposit had been stricken. Hutchinsons timely filed s second notice of appeal, an appeal from this final judgment.

         II. Analysis

         Hutchinsons makes three arguments on appeal. We address each of ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.