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Dept. of Transportation v. Keller

OPINION FILED AUGUST 18, 1978.

THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, PETITIONER-APPELLANT,

v.

LAWRENCE KELLER, JR., ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Jersey County; the Hon. HOWARD LEE WHITE, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE MILLS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Condemnation.

Not "quick take."

When does interest accrue?

Time of verdict?

Time of judgment?

Time of possession?

We hold: Time of possession.

Reversed.

This appeal stems from an eminent domain proceeding which resulted in the condemnation of defendants' property. In the prior legal history of our subject matter (Department of Public Works & Buildings v. Keller (1975), 61 Ill.2d 320, 335 N.E.2d 443), the supreme court held that the State possessed the power to condemn property — upon which a gravel quarry was being operated — for the purpose of the preservation of the natural beauty of areas through which State highways are constructed.

The case then proceeded to trial and on May 12, 1977, a jury awarded defendants the sum of $47,375 as compensation for the loss of their property. A final judgment was subsequently entered by the trial court on July 20, 1977, in which the trial court decreed that the State could take possession of the property upon payment of the award within 180 days from the entry of the order. Circuit Judge Howard Lee White also determined — and it is this segment of his decision that has precipitated the instant appeal — that interest at legal rate should insure from the date of the jury verdict. (This is not a "quick take" proceeding.)

On appeal, the State contends that interest does not ensue from the date of the jury verdict but can only begin to accumulate when the condemnor takes possession. In response, condemnees argue that section 3 of the Interest Act is applicable and therefore interest should accrue on the jury verdict and be included in the amount of judgment. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 74, par. 3.) In addition, the Kellers argue that they are entitled to interest on the judgment until the condemnation award is paid.

Therefore, the issue on appeal is as follows: When does interest begin to accrue on a jury award rendered in a condemnation proceeding?

There are three alternative times at which interest until payment might begin to run on a condemnation award: (1) from the date the jury returns with its verdict; (2) from the date judgment ...


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