The walnut paneled courtroom is nearly empty. The case being heard this morning does not warrant the interest of local court observers. This is a condemnation case about a utility easement running across the land of a property owner (plaintiff). Leaning back in their leather chairs sits a panel of three judges, grim faced, disinterested, maybe even a little bored. On the witness stand to their right with the goose neck microphone jutting out at him is a likeable fellow with graying temples and a brown tweed suit. He is just completing testimony explaining how he arrived at the “Before the Taking” and “After the Taking” values of the Plaintiff’s property.
As an expert for the defendant, the appraiser demonstrates a good grasp of property values in the area. His testimony, while flat and uninspiring, is competent and factual. As the questions end, the few courtroom observers stir in anticipation of what is coming next– the cross examination. The attorney for the plaintiff remains seated behind the large pecan conference table. He pauses a moment as if in deep thought, adjusts his silver rimmed glasses and begins his line of questioning: