One frequent issue in eminent domain and other valuation cases is the admissibility of appraisals obtained by a party other than the appraisal they intend to actually use. For example, in a case that will be heard by the VA Supreme Court, VDOT had two appraisals in an eminent domain case. VDOT chose only to present the lower value appraisal to the jury and the judge prohibited any reference to VDOT’s higher appraisal. VDOT has been criticized for this tactic and have been accused of bullying tactics by one newspaper. http://hamptonroads.com/2014/11/states-high-court-should-put-vdot-its-place-unfair-property-appraisals
It is not uncommon for a property owner or a condemning authority to have more than one appraisal. Condemnors have been criticized for paying property owners the lower of the appraisal amounts. The VA Supreme Court will decide the admissibility of these appraisals.
It is also not uncommon for property owners to obtain more than one appraisal in eminent domain and other settings. One way we try to protect these appraisals from being obtained by third parties is to retain the appraiser – or other experts – as “consulting experts.” These experts’ work product can then be protected as confidential “work product.”
So, if you are considering retaining valuation experts, it is important to consider retaining these experts through an attorney.