Cal. Dep;t of Transp. v . Hansen's Truck Stop, Inc.Annotate this Case
In 2007, the California Department of Transportation sought to condemn part of the Hansen parcel for a highway interchange. The Hansens operated a truck stop and sought additional compensation for impairment of highway access and the loss of goodwill. A jury awarded $525,122 for land and improvements, $300,000 for loss of goodwill, $8,000 for vegetation easement, and $1.7 million in damages to the remainder of the property: $2,533,122. The Hansens sought to recover $345,306 in litigation expenses, arguing that their final demand of $2.99 million was reasonable and the state’s final offer, $784,000, was unreasonable. The state argued that only the Hansens’ first demand, $5 million, could be considered because the second demand was filed after trial began. The court concluded that precedent required it to use the first demand when evaluating reasonableness, although it believed the “better result” would be that any final offers or demands made 20 days prior to a trial on issues of compensation (the trial had been bifurcated) should be considered. The court found the first demand to be unreasonable, and denied litigation expenses. The court of appeal vacated, finding that the statute does not restrict the court to considering only the offer and demand made prior to the first date set for trial.