The Georgia Supreme Court recently ruled that a condemning authority cannot unilaterally dismiss a condemnation action after the special master has rendered an award. In Dillard Land Investments LLC v. Fulton County, 2014 Ga. LEXIS 583 (Case No. S13G1582, decided July 11, 2014), Fulton County filed a petition for condemnation for a library development project. The county elected to proceed under the “special master” method codified at O.C.G.A. §§22-2-100 to 22-2-114. Following a hearing, the special master entered a just compensation award in the amount of $5,187,500.
Apparently unhappy with the award, the County filed a voluntary dismissal of the condemnation action without prejudice. However, the Georgia Supreme Court unanimously held that “a condemnor is not entitled to voluntarily dismiss a condemnation action unilaterally once the special master renders his award.”