United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
ANN VIAL LEMMON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
IS HEREBY ORDERED that the United States of
America's Motion for Determination of Title and to
Determine Just Compensation (Doc. #46) is
IS FURTHER ORDERED that prior to title vesting in
the United States of America, ownership of the property was
held by the persons listed in this Order and Reasons.
IS FURTHER ORDERED that the just compensation for
the taking of Tract 145E, payable by the United States to the
defendants/claimants, is the sum of $21, 800.
IS FURTHER ORDERED that the United States of America
will submit a proposed judgment consistent with this Order
and Reasons within 21 days of the date of this Order and
matter is before the court on the United States's motion
for determination of title and just compensation.
13, 2016, the United States filed this action condemning
0.242 acres of land in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana
("Tract 145E") for the public use of flood
protection. Thereafter, the United States deposited $21, 800
into the court's registry, at which time title vested in
the United States.
United States has identified the persons that may have an
ownership interest in Tract 145E. The property was purchased
by Charles Colombel and his wife, Lenora Rodi Colombel, by
Act of Cash Sale in 1908. Both Mr. and Mrs. Charles Colombel
died intestate, and they had seven daughters, who are all
deceased. Three of the Colombel's daughters died without
issue, and the other four have numerous descendants. The
United States determined that, due to the law of intestate
successions, ownership of Tract 145E was likely held by 37
living heirs of Charles and Lenora Rodi Colombel. The estates
of all of the Colombel's decedents who died intestate and
all of the Colombel's known living heirs were named in
recording the Notice of Lis Pendens with the Plaquemines
Parish Clerk of Court, the United States obtained an updated
title through the date of the Notice to ensure that all
parties potentially holding an interest in Tract 145E had
been named in this proceeding. The title contractor
determined that the Affidavits of Heirship that the United
States Army Corps of Engineers obtained during the
negotiations with the heirs and filed into the public record
were sufficient to identify the 37 living heirs of Charles
and Lenora Rodi Colombel as the owners of Tract No. 145E
prior to the United States's filing of the Declaration of
Taking. These 37 living heirs had already been named as
defendants/claimants in this proceeding. Thus, it was
unnecessary to add parties hereto. None of the
defendants/claimants have appeared or answered.
to filing this civil action, the United States obtained a
trial appraisal of Tract 145E that estimated the value Tract
145E to be $21, 800.
24, 2018, the United States filed the instant motion to
determine title and just compensation. To assist the court in
rendering a decision the United States filed the Department
of two versions of the Army Interim Binder on Owner's
Title Guarantee (Insurance) Policy, and the Appraisal Report.
All of these documents explain the Colombel's family
history and the ownership and value of Tract 145E.
25, 2018, this court ordered that the motion would be
submitted for hearing on the papers on July 18, 2018, because
no defendant has appeared or answered. On July 5, 2018, this
court granted the United States's motion for leave to
file proof of publication. The proof of publication states
that on three occasions in June 2018 in the Times-Picayune an
announcement that ...