RTD v. 750 West 48th Ave., LLCAnnotate this Case
In 2011, In 2011, Regional Transportation District (“RTD”) filed a petition in condemnation against 750 West 48th Avenue, LLC (“Landowner”) to acquire approximately the approximately 1.6 acre property a light rail project. Landowner was leasing the property to a commercial waterproofing business ("Tenant"). Over the years, Landowner made several luxury improvements to the property, including adding a steam room, fitness room, atrium, ceramic and cherry-wood flooring, and marble and granite finishes. The parties stipulated to every condemnation issue except the property's reasonable market value. Landowner elected to litigate the property's value through a commission trial. RTD established the value at $1.8 million; Landowner thought the property was worth $2.57 million. Landowner's calculations focused solely on the cost of replacement; RTD based its estimation on a "superadequacy" theory, asserting that many of the luxury improvements that Landowner made to an industrial property would not fetch a price on the open market commensurate with the cost of replacement. The issue this case presented for the Supreme Court's review centered on the interplay between the respective authorities of the supervising judge and the commission to make evidentiary rulings in eminent domain valuation hearings. Specifically, the Court considered: (1) whether a commission could alter a supervising judge's ruling in limine regarding admissibility, and (2) whether the supervising judge could instruct the commission to disregard as irrelevant evidence that the commission had previously admitted. The Supreme Court held that judicial evidentiary rulings controlled in valuation hearings. Thus, the Court affirmed the court of appeals' judgment insofar as it approved the supervising judge instructing the commission to disregard previously admitted evidence as irrelevant. The Court reversed that portion of the appellate court's opinion permitting the commission to alter the judge's evidentiary ruling in limine.