What Happens if a Landowner Fails to Respond to a Petition to Appropriate?
If the property owner fails to file an answer and the state files a motion, the court may waive the property owner’s right to a jury trial. The court may then award the property owner the compensation offered by the state in its petition to appropriate. This rule is different when the condemning authority fails to furnish the value of the property taken either in the petition to appropriate or any document filed with the clerk of courts. The court then does not have a duty, upon motion by the condemning authority, to declare the condemning authority’s value of property appropriated as just compensation, unless the document setting forth the value of the property was filed within a reasonable time prior to the expiration of the time for filing an answer. The rationale for this exception is that failure by the condemning authority to furnish a monetary value of the property provides the property owners no means by which to intelligently decide whether to forego a jury determination.