Murphy trial carries over to next week
By Dwayne Bremer
Aug 15, 2014, 22:00
Three days of testimony this week was not enough to decide the Murphy brothers lawsuit against the city of Bay St. Louis and the Secretary of State's office.
The Murphy brothers--Ray, Ken, and Audie--who own the property where Dan B's was located prior to Hurricane Katrina, claim that the city and state took their property without compensation when construction of the municipal harbor began in 2012.
The Murphys are seeking $800,000 in compensation.
The trial began Tuesday in Hancock County Circuit Court.
All of the testimony in the case was completed by 4 p.m. Friday.
"The state took my clients' property and then leased property to the city that they did not own," Murphy attorney Paul Scott said during opening arguments on Tuesday. "Beach front property is valuable property. They should be required to pay just compensation."
On Wednesday, an appraiser hired by the Murphys testified that prior to the construction of the harbor, the Murphys owned more than 14,000 square feet of property and now they own less than 3,400 square feet.
He set a value of $60 a square foot based on similar beach front properties on the Gulf Coast and adjustments in the market over the past decade.
"The Murphy family has owned this property since the '80s," Scott said. "They have used it, maintained it, and it has been under their control."
Attorney Hugh Keating argued that the amount of property claimed by the Murphys was much less because of state Land Trust records and previous studies.
Keating also argued that $60 a square-foot was not an accurate price for the property.
Keating said there is question about the Murphys' title to some of the property and said they were already paid more than $400,000 for property during the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' road-widening and seawall projects.
On Friday, jurors were given a tour of the Murphys property and heard from an expert appraiser for the state, who disputed some of the Murphys' claims.
After the defense rested Friday, Circuit Judge Lisa Dodson allowed the jury to retire for the weekend.
Closing arguments are scheduled for Monday morning.