Chappell v. NCDOT

Shiloh Daum

Shiloh Daum is an attorney with Sever-Storey, LLP, eminent domain lawyers representing landowners.

Joan Davis

Former Chair | Eminent Domain Section

Joan is a native of Lenoir County, N.C., who has made her home in the Triangle since her days at Peace College in Raleigh, and the University of North Carolina and UNC Law School in Chapel Hill. She is a partner in the law firm of Howard, Stallings, From, Atkins, Angell and Davis, PA, where she has been employed since 1989. She has over thirty years of experience in litigation, including eminent domain, condemnation, serious injury and death claims. She has a wide range of experience in federal district court, federal bankruptcy court, and many state court systems. Her real estate clients include Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies, as well as small businesses, individuals, developers, retailers and lenders. Joan has been recognized by numerous organizations for her outstanding service, including Super Lawyer and NC Business Magazine’s Legal Elite. She has received an AV Preeminent Rating by Martindale Hubbard for adhering to the highest ethical standards. She has written numerous articles on eminent domain, two of which have been republished in a national anthology of best practices. She is a sought after speaker on the topic of eminent domain topics for both legal and other trade groups.

Joan has been a member of NCAJ since graduating law school.

Case Link View Now
Opinion Filed May 01, 2020
Attorney for the Case Matthew Bryant
Amicus Brief Writers Shiloh Daum Joan Davis
Court NC Supreme Court
Docket No. 51PA19

NCAJ filed an amicus brief in the NC Supreme Court urging the justices to affirm a Cumberland County jury’s verdict and post-trial rulings that compensated landowners for by takings by NCDOT pursuant to the “Map Act”.  The Map Act prohibited the improvement, subdivision, and development of land located within certain protected corridors that were set aside for future NCDOT road projects.  DOT did not acquire their land through condemnation, however,  which left owners trapped for decades and unable to sell or fully benefit from their assets as their property values plummeted.  The Court previously ruled in Kirby v. DOT that the Map Act’s restrictions constituted a taking.  

The Chappells filed an inverse condemnation action against the DOT for the taking of their property without the constitutional remedy of just compensation.  NCAJ argued in support of the trial court ruling that DOT was required to pursue condemnation as a counterclaim, and that it was not entitled to the normal quick-take rights DOT typically enjoys.  NCAJ also opposed DOT attempts to obtain quick-take rights and possession of the property on the eve of trial when it had never paid any damages for its initial takings.

The amicus brief argued that the trial court correctly applied the existing legal standard from Kirby and statutes stating damages are based upon the fair market value of the property before the taking minus the fair market value of the remaining property after the taking.  NCAJ agreed with the trial judge’s decision to exclude certain testimony and evidence by DOT’s purported expert appraisers that was not sufficiently reliable, largely because their opinions did not follow existing case law. By contrast, DOT seeks to reverse the trial verdict and present evidence from appraisers based upon speculation and alleged events that occurred long after the taking. 

Finally, NCAJ supported the landowner and trial judge’s position that constitutional right to just compensation permits an owner to recover interest from the date of taking based upon a prudent investor standard, and not just a statutory interest rate. We also agreed that ad valorem taxes paid by an owner whose property was taken was entitled to additional damages as compensation.