The city of Charlotte will pay more than $1.5 million to compensate property owners who sued the city over the 2010 opening of a new runway at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, the plaintiffs’ attorneys reported.
Tommy Odom of the Odom Firm in Charlotte reports that the landowners filed actions for inverse condemnation in 2012 for the taking of a flight easement over their properties. The landowners claimed the flights negatively impacted the fair market value of the land because of the noise generated by planes arriving throughout the day. The city denied the allegations.
In total, 47 separate cases were filed related to the runway. The North Carolina Supreme Court designated the cases as exceptional and appointed Superior Court Judge Forrest Bridges to oversee them. The actions were stayed, and attorneys negotiated the terms of the settlements for 18 months.
The parties negotiated the language of the aviation easements, the fair market values of the properties, the amounts to be paid by the city for the purchase of the entire property or the easement, attorney fees, and the costs and expenses to be reimbursed to each landowner, Odom said.
The city ultimately purchased six of the properties. It paid between 4.5 percent and 13 percent of the agreed upon value of each property for an aviation easement over the remaining 41 properties, with the amount paid depending upon the location of each property.
Rebecca Cheney and Keith Merritt of Hamilton, Stephens, Steele and Martin in Charlotte represented the city. Cheney declined to comment on the settlement.
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SETTLEMENT REPORT – EMINENT DOMAIN
Case Name: Flaherty v. City of Charlotte, et. al.
Court: Mecklenburg County Superior Court
Case No.: 12-CVS-155
Judge: Forrest D. Bridges
Most helpful experts: Nancy S. Timmerman, P.E., of Boston (consultant in acoustics and noise control)
Attorneys for plaintiff: Thomas L. Odom Jr. and David W. Murray of The Odom Firm in Charlotte
Attorneys for defendant: Rebecca Cheney and Keith Merritt of Hamilton, Stephens, Steele and Martin in Charlotte