Manatee County Government Administrative Center Commission Chambers, First Floor 9:00 a.m. - October 9, 2018
REVISED October 9, 2018 - Regular Meeting
Agenda Item #17

Proposed Eminent Domain Settlement; Manatee County v. Maria Villacorta, et al.; Case No. 2018 CA 3438; Parcel 130

Briefing Provided Upon Request

Contact and/or Presenter Information
Pamela J. D’Agostino, Assistant County Attorney,
Ext. 3750

Action Requested

Motion to:
  1. Approve the proposed settlement with Defendants Maria Villacorta, also known as Maria H. Villacorta, Rigoberto Villacorta, and U.S. Bank National Association, in Manatee County Circuit Case No. 2018 CA 3438 relative to the taking of Parcel 130 for the 44th Avenue East Road Improvement Project from 45th Street East to 44th Avenue Plaza East as delineated in the attached Stipulated Final Judgment;
  2. Authorize the County Attorney or his designee to execute  the attached Motion for Entry of Stipulated Final Judgment Entry of Order Vacating Default (the default relates to  defendant US Bank National Association) and (3) all other necessary paperwork associated with said settlement; and
  3. Authorize the County Attorney or his designee to take other action in furtherance of this settlement, including furnishing executed copies of the attachments and other necessary paperwork to opposing counsel and the Court as appropriate.

Enabling/Regulating Authority
Article X, Section 6 of the Florida Constitution; Chapters 73, 74 and 127, Florida Statutes; and Resolutions R-17-108 and R-17-109.

Background Discussion
The County needed to acquire fee simple title to Parcel 130 to improve 44th Avenue East from 45th Street East to 44th Avenue Plaza East.  This project is a CIP-approved project.  Parcel 130 is located at 5705 44th Avenue East in Bradenton, Florida, and is approximately 0.089 acres in size.  The parent parcel is improved with a single-family residence, the homestead of the current owners, Maria Villacorta and Rigoberto Villacorta.   

The County’s appraiser valued Parcel 130 at $35,115, while the landowners concluded the value to be $98,990.  In addition, the landowner was originally seeking $22,016.61 in statutory attorney’s fees.  The Stipulated Order of Taking was entered on October 1, 2018.  Pursuant to that Stipulated Order of Taking, the County must deposit $35,115 into the Court Registry on or before October 21, 2018.  This amount is equal to the appraised value as determined by the County’s expert appraiser who valued the land taken at $6,800, the improvements taken at $8,500, the severance damages at $16,165, and the cure costs at $3,650.

After engaging in extensive informal negotiations with the landowners through their counsel, the landowners agreed to accept $69,000 in full settlement of this eminent domain matter.  The settlement is comprised of the following components: 
  1. $61,200 (less the pending deposit amount of $35,115) in full settlement of all claims for compensation for the taking of Parcel 130, including the value of the land and improvements taken, severance damages, cure costs, business damages, and all other damages arising from this eminent domain case; and
  2. $7,800 for attorneys’ fees and costs and the experts’ fees and costs.
The settlement will conclude the eminent domain litigation relative to this parcel and will avoid additional expert fees and costs and litigation costs.  If the County were to reject this settlement and proceed with litigation, the County’s maximum exposure is estimated to be as follows:
  • Costs for Land, Improvements, Severance Damages and Cure:  $109,000
  • Costs and Fees for Landowner’s Attorney:  $26,000
  • Costs and Fees for Landowner’s Experts:  $28,000
  • Costs and Fees for County’s Experts:  $14,000
  • Additional Litigation Costs and Fees:  $18,000
Total maximum exposure is estimated at $195,000.  Total minimum exposure is estimated at $100,000.  As in all eminent domain matters, the County is ultimately responsible for paying the reasonable fees (per the statutory formula) and costs for the landowners’ attorneys and reasonable fees for the landowners' experts.

The County Attorney’s Office believes that approving this proposed settlement is in the best interests of the County and therefore recommends that the Board approve the settlement for $69,000 in accordance with the terms outlined in the attached Stipulated Final Judgment.  The recommendation to accept the terms of this settlement considers the value of the property acquired, the estimated costs associated with further litigation including a jury trial, and the relative strengths and weaknesses in the case.  By approving this proposed settlement, all litigation relative to this parcel will be concluded and the County will incur no additional expense relative to this parcel.

County Attorney Review
Other (Requires explanation in field below)

Explanation of Other
This is a County Attorney item.

Reviewing Attorney

Instructions to Board Records
After Board action, please e-mail a copy of this agenda item to:
Pamela J. D’Agostino, Assistant County Attorney, pamela.dagostino@mymanatee.org and Alicia M. Stull, Paralegal, alicia.stull@mymanatee.org

Cost and Funds Source Account Number and Name
$69,000 (consisting of $35,115 previously deposited and a remaining balance of $33,885; 854-6086960-561000/6086960-0003; Transportation Revenue Note Capital Projects

Amount and Frequency of Recurring Costs

Attachment:  Proposed Stipulated Final Judgment.pdf
Attachment:  Proposed Order Vacating Default.pdf
Attachment:  Location Map of Parcel 130.pdf
Attachment:  Legal Description & Sketch of Parcel 130 (1).pdf
Attachment:  Proposed Motion for Entry of Stipulated Final Judgment and Entry of Order Vacating Default.pdf