January 31, 2008
OKEECHOBEE, FL – S. William Moore and Gregory S. Rix, both partners with Brigham Moore, Florida’s largest private property rights defense firm, successfully represented an Okeechobee family in obtaining a $4.385 million verdict in a condemnation lawsuit with the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD).The suit involved the valuation of flowage easements the SFWMD needed to secure for two parcels of land owned by the Prescott family for the Kissimmee River Restoration Project. It was determined that the 595.17 acre tract of land the Prescott family owns, could potentially be flooded as a result of the project. The verdict also includes compensation for severance damages to the remaining portion of the property. The SFWMD originally offered the family approximately $625,000. “Property owners deserve fair compensation when a governmental entity takes their property, or puts easements on it that blocks its usage. There was a large discrepancy in what the SFWMD and our client felt was fair compensation, but the system worked and we are very pleased with the jury’s decision,” said Moore. The SFWMD determined that the completion of the Kissimmee River Restoration Project could potentially flood a portion of the Prescott property. By law, water management districts cannot knowingly flood anyone’s property without compensation in the form of purchasing a flowage easement over the property. This verdict represents both the value of the flowage easements for the affected land and severance damages to the remaining property. The easement bars the Prescott family from building any structures or making improvements to the affected parcels.
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