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Respondent gets proceeds in condemnation case

Where the parties settled their condemnation dispute, the settlement funds should be paid to respondent or its attorney, and not the clerk of the court.


“Petitioner Commissioner of Highways … filed a condemnation action in connection with the Elden Street widening project in the Town of Herndon. Petitioner filed a Certificate of Take with the Clerk of this Court and deposited $269,179.00 as an estimate of the just compensation owed.

“On August 25, 2021, Petitioner filed a Petition for Condemnation. On September 17, 2021, Respondent 496 Elden Street, LLC … filed an Answer seeking just compensation. At this point, the negotiations between the parties began in earnest.

“The parties exchanged a series of emails negotiating the Fair Market Value of the property and other procedural issues. It is clear from the email exchanges, however, that on September 30, 2022, the parties settled the Fair Market Value at $322,000.”


“The issue now becomes to whom should the proceeds be paid. I find that the proceeds should be paid to Respondent’s counsel or Respondent directly.

“In relevant part, Virginia Code §25.1-247.1 states:

“‘Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, upon any settlement or final determination resulting in a judgment for the owner, whether funds have been paid into the court or are outstanding, all such funds due and owing shall be payable to the owner or, if the owner consents, to the owner’s attorney within 30 days of the settlement or final determination[.]’ …

“I find that this situation does not present a difficult matter of interpretation.

“Presuming, as I must, that the General Assembly chose its words carefully, … it is clear that the General Assembly in§ 25.1-247.1 intended to carve out a different method of payment after a settlement has been reached.

“Respondent’s Motion is granted and Petitioner is hereby ordered to pay $322,200 either to Respondent directly, or his attorney[.]”

Commissioner of Highways v. 496 Elden Street, LLC, et al., Case No. CL-2020-20253, Dec. 29, 2022. Fairfax County Circuit Court (Smith). J Chapman Petersen, Courtney B. Harden for the parties. VLW 022-8-081, 3 pp.