On September 12, 2011, Jed Springer and John Mackel won a jury verdict in the amount of $4,005,795.90 against Caltrans on behalf of RockTenn CP, LLC, an owner of property along the I-5 Freeway. Caltrans sought to acquire a portion of the property along the frontage road for the I-5 widening. Caltrans claimed that the property was contaminated, and its first initial offer was only $486,000. Caltrans’ attempt to offset hundreds of thousands of dollars for environmental cleanup costs was successfully opposed. No evidence of environmental cleanup costs was ever received at the trial.
At trial, Caltrans’ appraiser asserted that the partial taking had caused no severance damages. The owner’s appraiser, Michael Waldron, testified that Caltrans’ proposed storm drain improvements would cause substantial severance damages to the remainder. The jury awarded $1,750,000 in severance damages, plus significant increases in value for each of the parcels taken by Caltrans. (People, acting by and through the Dept. of Trans. v. Smurfit-Stone Container Enterprises, Inc., et al., LASC Case No. BC433220.)