United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, E. D
October 14, 1971
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
35.163 ACRES OF LAND, MORE OR LESS, SITUATE IN COOK COUNTY, STATE OF ILLINOIS, AND THE METROPOLITAN SANITARY DISTRICT OF GREATER CHICAGO, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Perry, District Judge.
MEMORANDUM and JUDGMENT ORDER
This is an Eminent Domain proceeding brought by the United
States of America. Suit was filed on June 30, 1969, under the
provisions of Section 258a of Title 40, U.S.Code Annotated.
The parcels of land in question are owned by The Metropolitan
Sanitary District of Greater Chicago. Said land was
appropriated by the United States of America, for:
1) relocation of railroad tracks and approaches to new
bridges over the CalSag Navigation channel; and
2) relocation of highway bridges and approaches thereto over
the Cal-Sag Navigation Project.
The Government deposited with the Registry of the Court, the
sum of $146,238.90, as and for just compensation of all
parcels involved herein.
Subsequent to the filing of this action by the United States
Government, The Metropolitan Sanitary District of Greater
Chicago advised the Government that it would not accept
compensation for the highway bridges because by its
resolutions it had agreed to furnish such land free of cost.
The Government then took the position that it should not
compensate The Metropolitan Sanitary District of Greater
Chicago for any of the parcels contained in this litigation
contending that The Metropolitan Sanitary District of Greater
Chicago, as local sponsor under House Document 677, was to
provide "all land necessary for this project."
The Government delayed action on the merits of this cause
because of alleged conferences with the Department of Justice
in Washington. These delays effectively prevented The
Metropolitan Sanitary District of Greater Chicago from taking
the money deposited with the Court's Registry.
On August 11, 1971, The Metropolitan Sanitary District of
Greater Chicago filed a Petition for Interest on the sums
deposited with the Registry of this Court pertaining to those
parcels of land taken for relocation of railroad tracks or
approaches to railroad bridges contending:
1) That it was entitled to interest on each parcel taken for
railroad bridge approaches or relocation of railroad tracks,
from the date of actual possession by the Government to the
date of the filing of this proceedings in Eminent Domain, and
2) That it was entitled to interest at the rate of 6% per
annum from June 30, 1969, to the date of final disbursement
because of the delay on the part of the United States
On August 25, 1971, the Government filed its Motion for
Summary Judgment contending that under House Document 677, The
Metropolitan Sanitary District of Greater Chicago, as local
sponsor, was obligated to furnish, free of cost, all land
needed for this project with the single exception of such land
needed for the waterway "as is now occupied by abutments or
railroad tracks at approaches to railroad bridges."
On July 30, 1971, The Metropolitan Sanitary District of
Greater Chicago, filed a Request for Admissions by the United
States Government. On September 8, 1971, the Government
replied. The Metropolitan Sanitary District of Greater Chicago
listed 55 parcels of property in its Request for Admissions
concerning whether or not the United States had paid for these
premises through condemnation proceedings or purchase. The
Government's answer admitted that it had acquired and paid for
44 of the parcels listed but denies that it acquired 11 others
either by purchase, condemnation or otherwise. Of the 11
parcels denied by the Government, eight were property of
railroads and three were streets within a subdivision so no
actual acquisition by purchase or condemnation was necessary.
Question No. 2 had to do with the dates of possession of the
parcels in question by the United States Government. The
Government admitted the date of possession as to tracts D-404,
D-404-2 and A-106-2, but neither admits nor denies the date of
the balance of the tracts stating that the Government records
do not indicate the dates in question.
Question No. 3 concerned whether or not the Government had
agreed to pay to The Metropolitan Sanitary District certain
compensation. The Government admits this but states that such
agreements were a mistake.
Question No. 4 concerns the genuineness of a letter setting
forth the compensation concerning certain parcels, signed by
Thomas P. Kelleher, U.S. Army Engineering Division, North
Central Corps of Engineers, and admits the genuineness of this
Since the Government's Motion for Summary Judgment questions
whether or not The Metropolitan Sanitary District of Greater
Chicago should be paid any money for its property, it is
necessary to take up this question first.
The Metropolitan Sanitary District of Greater Chicago
responded to the Government's Motion stating:
"House Document No. 677 became Law by virtue of
Public Law No. 525 adopting the provisions
thereof. Said House Document provides at page 46,
Section 72, as follows:
"Bridge costs. — Bridge costs and their
apportionment have been derived from appendix B
of this report and supplemented estimates
furnished by the consultants. Assurances have
been given that highway bridges will be altered
by local interests. It is believed to be
equitable to apportion the railroad bridge costs
in general accordance with section 6 of the
(Truman-Hobbs) act approved June 21, 1940. On
February 23, 1945, the district engineer and the
railroad committee on Calumet Sag project bridges
signed an informal agreement setting forth in
more detail the manner in which the costs would
be divided. (See exhibit A.)" [Emphasis
"Said House Document further states as pages 52
and 53 thereof, as follows:
"(g) Rebuild or otherwise alter at Federal
expense to the extent specified in paragraph 72 all
obstructive railroad bridges across the channels
whose improvement is proposed herein, including the
bridge of the Illinois Central Railroad at mile
11.20 of the Little Calumet River, so as to provide
suitable clearances; and that the Secretary of War
be authorized to enter into contracts with the
various railroads whereby each obstructive bridge
will be (1) rebuilt either in its present location,
or (2) in another location or else eliminated by
rearrangement or joint use of railroad facilities
at a cost to the United States of not more than
would be occasioned by rebuilding in the present
location; provided, that local interests shall
remove, reconstruct, or alter all highway bridges
across the waterways whose improvement is proposed
herein, which, in the opinion of the Chief of
Engineers, constitute an unreasonable obstruction
to navigation; and provided further, that local
interests shall furnish without cost to the United
States all land and easements necessary for the
execution of the project, including the necessary
areas for the disposal of spoil for
new work construction, with the exception of such
land needed for the waterway as is now occupied by
abutments or railroad tracks at the approaches to
railroad bridges, rights-of-way over which lands
shall be acquired by the United States as an
incident to the alteration of the bridges; and
provided further, that the several sections of the
proposed channel may be improved as separate units
when considered advisable by the Chief of Engineers
and when local interests have provided the
cooperation indicated above for any unit."
This Court finds that House Document No. 677 specifically
provided for the construction and relocation of tracks and
railroad bridges under Section 72 of that Document; that
Section 72 provides that the relocation of the railroad
bridges and approaches thereto would be done under the
provisions of the Truman Hobbs Act. The Truman Hobbs Act
provides for the Government to pay the railroads in accordance
with the formula established in said Act.
The Court further finds that the Truman Hobbs Act, as
originally passed on June 21, 1940, provided for the
Government to assist in the relocation of railroad bridges as
therein set forth, which is now Section 511 to and including
523 of Title 33, U.S.Code Annotated. The Truman Hobbs Act made
no provision for Government assistance concerning highway
However, it should be noted that the Truman Hobbs Act was
amended on July 16, 1952, and this amendment provided that the
United States share in the cost of relocation of highway
bridges in the same manner as it did with railroad bridges.
House Document No. 677 was amended by House Document No. 45
approved by Public Law 85-500 on June 3, 1958. This amendment
eliminated the requirement set forth in Section 72 of House
Document No. 677 that "local interests will alter highway
bridges at local expense." Despite this change, the
Metropolitan Sanitary District of Greater Chicago has not
requested payment for land taken for the relocation of highway
bridges by the United States Government.
Judgment is entered in favor of The Metropolitan Sanitary
District of Greater Chicago and against the United States of
America, in the sum of $76,085.90, as to parcels:
Tract No. Compensation
A-106-5 1.00 Compensation Waived
A-106-E 1.00 " "
B-222-E 1.00 Compensation Waived
It is further ordered that compensation is waived as to the
balance of the parcels set forth in the Declaration of Taking.
Since the Government's Motion for Summary Judgment is denied
and The Metropolitan Sanitary District's Motion for Summary
Judgment is allowed, we now take up the question of interest.
From the pleadings and admissions filed herein, the Court
finds that the Government went into possession of the
following parcels on the dates set forth:
Parcel No. Date of Possession.
A-106-1 10/ 9/58
A-106-2 10/ 9/58
A-106-5 10/ 9/58
A-106-E 10/ 9/58
That the dates of actual taking of the premises in question
are the dates of actual possession and not the date of the
filing of this cause. This is supported by the case entitled
United States v.
Dow, 357 U.S. 17
, 78 S.Ct. 1039, 2 L.Ed. 2d 1109 (1958):
"We hold, contrary to the Court of Appeals,
that the `taking' did not occur in 1946 when the
Government filed its declaration of taking, but
rather when the United States entered into
possession of the land in 1943."
The Court, in the same case, further stated:
"Broadly speaking, the United States may take
property pursuant to its power of eminent domain
in one of two ways: it can enter into physical
possession of property without authority of a
court order; or it can institute condemnation
proceedings under various Acts of Congress
providing authority for such takings."
The Court further stated, at page 22, 78 S.Ct. at page 1044:
"The usual rule is that if the United States has
entered into possession of the property prior to
the acquisition of title, it is the former event
which constitutes the act of taking. It is that
event which gives rise to the claim for
compensation and fixes the date as of which the
land is to be valued and the Government's
obligation to pay interest accrues. See United
States v. Lynah, 188 U.S. 445, 470-471, 23 S.Ct.
349, 357, 47 L.Ed. 539 [548, 549]; United States
v. Rogers, 255 U.S. 163, 41 S.Ct. 281, 65 L.Ed.
566; Seaboard Air Line R. Co. v. United States,
261 U.S. 299, 43 S.Ct. 354, 67 L.Ed. 664."
In the case entitled Bishop v. United States, 5 Cir.,
288 F.2d 525
, at page 527 (1961), which involved specifically the
issue of whether or not interest is payable by the Government
under the Declaration of Taking Act, 40 U.S.C.A. § 258a, for
the period of time in which the withdrawal of the deposit was
prevented by the Government, the Court of Appeals said:
"While, in this problem, we deal with a
statute, the statute is one which has
constitutional overtones, and it is to be read in
this light. The Declaration of Taking Act'does
not bestow independent authority to condemn lands
for public lands. On the contrary, it provides a
proceeding "ancillary or incidental to suits
brought under other statutes," Catlin v. United
States, * * * (324 U.S.  at 240 [65 S.Ct.
631, at page 637, 89 L.Ed. 911]).' United States
v. Dow, 1958, 357 U.S. 17, at page 23, 78 S.Ct.
1039, at page 1045, 2 L.Ed.2d 1109; In re United
States, 5 Cir., 1958, 257 F.2d 844, 847. By the
time of its enactment in 1931, the doctrine was
unquestioned that interest was a part of just
compensation not, as in a damage suit, a mere
payment for delay. `Where the United States
condemns and takes possession of land
before * * * paying compensation, the owner is
not limited to the value of the property at the
time of taking; he is entitled to such addition
as will produce the full equivalent of that
value, paid contemporaneously with the taking.
Interest at a proper rate is a good measure by
which to ascertain the amount so to be added.'
This is so because the compensation must be `the
full and perfect equivalent of the property
taken.' Seaboard Airline Railway Co. v. United
States, 1923, 261 U.S. 299, 304, 306, 43 S.Ct.
354, 356, 67 L.Ed. 664."
Therefore, since compensation concerning these parcels was
fixed at or about the time the Government went into
possession, The Metropolitan Sanitary District of Greater
Chicago is entitled to interest at the rate of 6% per annum
from the dates of possession to the filing of this cause on
June 30, 1969, in the sum of $47,069.78.
As to interest from June 30, 1969, to September 30, 1971,
the Court finds that the action of the Government prevented
The Metropolitan Sanitary District of Greater Chicago from
taking down the funds deposited with the Registry of the
Court. Therefore, The Metropolitan Sanitary District of
Greater Chicago is entitled to 6% interest for the period of
time amounting to $10,271.61.
Judgment is entered in favor of The Metropolitan Sanitary
District of Greater
Chicago and against the United States of America in the
further sums of $47,069.78 as and for interest from the date
of possession of the premises in question to June 30, 1969,
and in the sum of $10,271.61, as and for interest from June
30, 1969, to September 30, 1971.
It is further ordered:
That the Clerk pay to The Metropolitan Sanitary District of
Greater Chicago, the following sums of money from the Registry
of this Court:
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