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ARNOLD et al. v. STATE HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT.
42845.
Condemnation of land. Coweta Superior Court. Before Judge Knight.
JOSLIN, Judge.
Under the Special Master Act, Code Ann. Ch. 36-6A, a condemnor is not required to pay the award of the special master into the registry of the court within ten days after the filing of the award, or at the time of, or prior to the filing of the appeal as a condition precedent to its right of appeal.
This is an appeal from an order overruling a motion by the condemnees to dismiss the appeal of the condemnor from a special master's award.
The State Highway Department, condemnor, filed a petition to condemn certain lands and chose to follow the special master proceedings authorized by Code Ann. Ch. 36-6A. The special master entered his award on December 23, 1966, and this was filed December 24, 1966. The condemnor filed its appeal from the award of the special master on December 29, 1966. On December 31, 1966, the judge of the superior court entered an order condemning the property as provided by Code Ann. 36-613a. Payment of the amount provided for in the award of the special master was made into the registry of the court on January 17, 1967, and was paid to the condemnees on February 9, 1967. On March 10, 1967, the motion by the condemnees to dismiss the appeal from the special master's award was made and overruled and the trial was held, resulting in a valuation less than that awarded by the special master.
The Woodside case, supra, was interpreting Code Ch. 36-5, which is concerned with the fixing of value by assessors. This is a completely different process from that in which the special master is used, is was the case here. In the Woodside case, supra, the majority held that an award of compensation by assessors, filed as required by law, was a taking of private property for public use and payment must be made as a condition precedent to the condemnor's right to prosecute an appeal.
Under the special master procedure provided in Code Ann. 36-612a, the law specifically provides that the award of the special master "shall condemn and vest title to the property . . . in the condemning body upon the deposit of such sum into the registry of the court." (Emphasis supplied.) The form of the award provides "said property by condemned by a judgment in rem to the use of the condemnor upon the payment of the last stated sum into the registry of the court." (Emphasis supplied.) Code Ann. 36-613a, further provides: "Upon the award of the special master being entered . . . the judge of the superior court shall enter up a proper order . . . condemning the described property, . . . to the use of the condemning body upon the payment into the registry of the court of the amount provided for in the award of the special master." (Emphasis supplied.)
It seems then that no property is taken under this special master procedure until the payment is made. Therefore, no unconstitutional taking would result as applied to assessors' evaluations as held in the Woodside case, supra.
Under the Special Master Act, Code Ann. Ch. 36-6A, a condemnor is not required to pay the award of the special master into the registry of the court within ten days after the filing of the award, or at the time of, or prior to the filing of the appeal as a condition precedent to its right of appeal.
The order overruling the motion to dismiss the appeal is affirmed.
Arthur K. Bolton, Attorney General, Richard L. Chambers, Marshall R. Sims, Assistant Attorneys General, John A. Sligh, Jr., Walter Sanders, Charles Van S. Mottola, for appellee.
Harry N. Payton, for appellants.
ARGUED JUNE 12, 1967 -- DECIDED JUNE 22, 1967 -- REHEARING DENIED JULY 18, 1967--CERT. APPLIED FOR.
Friday May 22 19:07 EDT


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