City of Marietta v. Summerour
The Georgia Supreme Court held that the City of Marietta failed to comply with a statutory requirement that it provide an appraisal summary to a landowner prior to the initiation of condemnation negotiations and such failure required a dismissal of the condemnation petition. The City of Marietta sought to acquire a small grocery store in the city for the purpose of building a public park. When the city could not come to an agreement on price through voluntary negotiations with the owner, it sought to obtain the property through a condemnation action. The city and the property owner, over a number of years, had some communication over a price, but remained very far apart on the value of the property.
By 2014 the property owner's attorney reminded the city that in the years since the discussions began the city had never sent a summary of its appraisal to the property owner. This was finally done in May of 2014, but the report was dated June 2013. Later in 2014 the city filed a petition to condemn the property and a special master found that the fair market value of the property was $225,000. The trial court adopted the special master's return and the property owner appealed. The Court of Appeals held that the city did not provide the property owner a summary of its appraisal in a timely manner and directed the trial court to reconsider the question of bad faith. The city, in response, filed a writ of cert with the Georgia Supreme Court. The Court agreed with the Court of Appeals that the city violated condemnation law because it did not disclose the appraisal summary to the property owner in a timely manner. The Court, therefore, held that the city acted outside of its authority in condmening the property.