United States of America Upon The Relation And For The Use Of The Tennessee Valley Authority v. Tree-Removal Rights with Respect to Land in Marshall County, Mississippi et al
ORDER granting 8 Motion for Entry of an Order of Immediate Possession. Signed by District Judge Debra M. Brown on 10/16/17. (jtm)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA upon
the relation and for the use of the
TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY
TREE REMOVAL RIGHTS WITH
RESPECT TO LAND IN MARSHALL
COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI; NATHANIEL
LESUEUR; BANK OF HOLLY
SPRINGS; and WILLIAM F.
ORDER GRANTING POSSESSION
This condemnation action is before the Court on the “Plaintiff’s Motion for Entry of an
Order of Immediate Possession.” Doc. #8.
On July 11, 2017, the United States of America, upon the relation and for the use of the
Tennessee Valley Authority (“TVA”), filed a complaint in this Court “for the taking of property
under the power of eminent domain and for the ascertainment and award of just compensation to
the owners and parties in interest.” Doc. #1 at ¶ 1. Specifically, TVA seeks to take for public use
tree-removal rights of land located in Marshall County, Mississippi (“Property”). Id. at ¶ 5; Doc.
#1-1. The complaint lists as defendants (1) Nathaniel Lesueur, the owner of the Property; (2) Bank
of Holly Springs, a holder of a lien on the Property by two deeds of trust; and (3) William F.
Schneller, the designated trustee of the deeds of trust. Doc. #1 at ¶ 6.
Also on July 11, 2017, TVA filed a “Declaration of Taking” signed by Elizabeth Birdwell
from its General Counsel’s Office, Doc. #2; and a “Notice of Condemnation” identifying the
Property and the defendants, Doc. #3. The following day, TVA deposited five hundred dollars in
the Court’s registry.
On August 2, 2017, TVA filed a “Notice of Completion of Service of Pleadings upon All
Defendants as of July 28, 2017,” representing that the complaint, the Declaration of Taking, and
the Notice of Condemnation were all served on the defendants. Doc. #7. On August 3, 2017, TVA
filed “Plaintiff’s Motion for Entry of an Order of Immediate Possession,” and an accompanying
memorandum. Doc. #8; Doc. #9. The motion and memorandum include certificates of service
reflecting that each was mailed to the defendants. The defendants have not responded to the
Congressional authorization is required for land to be condemned by the
government for public use. Congress sometimes exercises the power of eminent
domain directly by enacting a statute that appropriates specific property.
Congress’s normal practice, however, is to delegate the power of eminent domain
to government officers who may condemn property in the name of the United States
for public use. And Congress may ... grant condemnation power to private
corporations executing works in which the public is interested. ... When a
condemnation action becomes necessary, a government official has two statutory
methods available for exercising the power of eminent domain. Under the first
method, called “straight condemnation,” the action usually proceeds to a
determination of just compensation and final judgment before the condemnor takes
possession. Under the second method, often referred to as “quick-take,” the
government may take possession of the condemned property at the beginning of the
E. Tenn. Nat. Gas Co. v. Sage, 361 F.3d 808, 820–21 (4th Cir. 2004) (quotation marks, alterations,
and citations omitted). This case involves a “quick-take” action brought by TVA, an entity
authorized by Congress to exercise the power of eminent domain. See 16 U.S.C. § 831c(h).
40 U.S.C. § 3114, the quick-take statute, provides that “[o]n filing [a] declaration of taking
and depositing in the court, to the use of the persons entitled to the compensation, the amount of
the estimated compensation stated in the declaration,” three legal mechanisms occur: (1) “title to
the estate or interest specified in the declaration vests in the Government;” (2) “the land is
condemned and taken for the use of the Government;” and (3) “the right to just compensation for
the land vests in the persons entitled to the compensation.” 40 U.S.C. § 3114(b). The statute
The declaration of taking shall contain or have annexed to it—
(1) a statement of the authority under which, and the public use for which, the land
(2) a description of the land taken that is sufficient to identify the land;
(3) a statement of the estate or interest in the land taken for public use;
(4) a plan showing the land taken; and
(5) a statement of the amount of money estimated by the acquiring authority to be
just compensation for the land taken.
Id. at § 3114(a).
The Declaration of Taking filed by TVA in this action meets the five declaration
requirements. Specifically, the declaration and accompanying exhibits (1) state the taking is
authorized by the Tennessee Valley Authority Act of 1933; (2) include a description of the land
affected by the taking; (3) identify the interest taken as tree-removal rights; (4) include a map
showing the land taken; and (5) state that $500 “is the amount estimated ... to be just and liberal
compensation for the tree-removal rights taken.” Doc. #2; Doc. #2-1; Doc. #2-2. Additionally,
as explained above, TVA has deposited five hundred dollars with this Court.
Under these circumstances, the Court concludes that TVA has complied with the
requirements of the quick-take statute and that, therefore, title to the estate has vested in TVA,
thereby entitling TVA to immediate possession. Accordingly, TVA’s motion for immediate
possession will be granted.
For the reasons above, TVA’s motion for entry of an order of immediate possession  is
GRANTED. All defendants to this action and all persons in possession or control of the property
described in the complaint and Declaration of Taking in this case shall surrender possession of
such property, to the extent of the estate condemned, to the TVA immediately.
SO ORDERED, this 16th day of October, 2017.
/s/Debra M. Brown
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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