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Consolidating the Eminent Domain Cases

Tuesday, September 26, 2006 at 4:13 PM

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A judge is considering whether to consolidate 14 cases challenging the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority's right to acquire property in the East Flats through eminent domain. The Port Authority plans to sell the land to developer Scott Wolstein. ideastream's Lisa Ann Pinkerton has more.

Lawyers for the Port Authority argued Monday that the 14 cases are so similar in their grievances and evidence that they should all be tried together. Lead Attorney for the Port Authority Steve Kaufman says this would prevent long delays leading up to the trial. In response, the lawyers for the 14 property owners argued each of their cases is unique and that trying them together would violate property owners rights. They did offer to shave time off the pre-trial process by consolidating the cases for discovery purposes only.

The two sides differ on the relevance of a recent Ohio Supreme Court decision that barred a Cincinnati suburb from using eminent domain to obtain property for economic development. Lawyers for the Port Authority argue it has no relevance in this case. The landowners say that ruling would apply.

Aides to Judge John Corrigan say he’ll decide on whether to consolidate the cases within a week or two.

Lisa Ann Pinkerton, 90.3.

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