A-42973, JUNE 28, 1932, 11 COMP. GEN. 498

A-42973: Jun 28, 1932

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PAYMENT SHOULD BE MADE INTO THE REGISTRY OF THE COURT IN CASES IN WHICH THE PROPERTY IS SUBJECT TO JUDGMENTS. 1932: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 17. IN WHICH DAMAGES IN THE AMOUNT OF $250 WERE AWARDED FOR A PARCEL OF LAND. WHICH AWARD WAS RATIFIED AND CONFIRMED BY THE COURT ON APRIL 21. YOU REQUEST TO BE ADVISED WHETHER REAL ESTATE ACQUIRED THROUGH CONDEMNATION PROCEEDINGS IS SUBJECT TO JUDGMENTS OF RECORD IN THE SUPREME COURT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. THE QUESTION AS PRESENTED IS PRIMARILY ONE OF TITLE. WHICH THIS OFFICE HAS JURISDICTION TO DECIDE IS: IF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA MAKES PAYMENT OF THE AMOUNT AWARDED AS DAMAGES IN CONDEMNATION PROCEEDINGS TO THE HOLDERS OF THE RECORD TITLE TO THE PROPERTY INVOLVED.

A-42973, JUNE 28, 1932, 11 COMP. GEN. 498

REAL ESTATE - LAND ACQUIRED UNDER CONDEMNATION PROCEEDINGS WHERE THE JUDGMENT OF THE COURT, CONFIRMING AWARDS IN CONDEMNATION PROCEEDINGS PROVIDES THAT TITLE SHALL VEST IN THE CONDEMNING AUTHORITY UPON THE PAYMENT OF THE AWARDS TO THE PARTIES THERETO ENTITLED OR INTO THE REGISTRY OF THE COURT, PAYMENT SHOULD BE MADE INTO THE REGISTRY OF THE COURT IN CASES IN WHICH THE PROPERTY IS SUBJECT TO JUDGMENTS, OR THE OWNERS SHOULD BE REQUIRED TO SATISFY THE JUDGMENTS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, JUNE 28, 1932:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 17, 1932, RELATIVE TO CONDEMNATION CAUSE NO. 2135, IN WHICH DAMAGES IN THE AMOUNT OF $250 WERE AWARDED FOR A PARCEL OF LAND, NUMBERED FOR ASSESSMENT AND TAXATION PURPOSES AS LOT 815 IN SQUARE 1220, CONDEMNED FOR SCHOOL PURPOSES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, WHICH AWARD WAS RATIFIED AND CONFIRMED BY THE COURT ON APRIL 21, 1932.

YOU REQUEST TO BE ADVISED WHETHER REAL ESTATE ACQUIRED THROUGH CONDEMNATION PROCEEDINGS IS SUBJECT TO JUDGMENTS OF RECORD IN THE SUPREME COURT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

THE QUESTION AS PRESENTED IS PRIMARILY ONE OF TITLE, BUT THE REAL QUESTION FOR CONSIDERATION, AND WHICH THIS OFFICE HAS JURISDICTION TO DECIDE IS: IF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA MAKES PAYMENT OF THE AMOUNT AWARDED AS DAMAGES IN CONDEMNATION PROCEEDINGS TO THE HOLDERS OF THE RECORD TITLE TO THE PROPERTY INVOLVED, WITHOUT REGARD TO OUTSTANDING JUDGMENT LIENS, WILL THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA HAVE A GOOD ACQUITTANCE FOR SAID JUDGMENT?

THE SUPREME COURT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, IN ITS JUDGMENT OF APRIL 21, 1932, RATIFIED AND CONFIRMED THE AWARD IN CONDEMNATION CAUSE NO. 2135, AND ADJUDGED, ORDERED AND DECREED THAT UPON THE PAYMENT OF THE AWARDS TO THE PARTIES THERETO ENTITLED, OR INTO THE COURT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 491 N OF THE CODE OF LAW FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, THE SEVERAL PARCELS OF LAND DESCRIBED AND MENTIONED IN THE VERDICT IN WHICH SAID AWARDS WERE MADE, SHALL BECOME AND BE THE PROPERTY OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FOR SCHOOL PURPOSES, FOR WHICH THE PROCEEDING WAS INSTITUTED.

SECTION 491 N OF THE CODE OF LAW OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, 35 STAT. 582, PROVIDES:

IN CASE ANY OF THE OWNERS OF LAND HERETOFORE OR HEREAFTER CONDEMNED FOR PUBLIC USE, WHETHER UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SAID CODE OR BY VIRTUE OF ANY SPECIAL OR GENERAL ACT OF CONGRESS, ARE UNDER DISABILITY OR CAN NOT BE FOUND, OR NEGLECT OR REFUSE TO RECEIVE THE MONEY AWARDED TO THEM; OR IN CASE THE RECORD IS IMPERFECT OR THE TITLE TO THE PROPERTY IS IN DISPUTE OR UNCERTAIN, THE MONEY DUE THE OWNERS OF THE PROPERTY FOR DAMAGES FOR LAND TAKEN MAY BE DEPOSITED IN THE REGISTRY OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, FOR THE USE OF THE RIGHTFUL OWNERS WITHOUT COST OR EXPENSE TO SAID DISTRICT; AND THEREUPON THE TITLE TO THE LAND CONDEMNED SHALL BECOME VESTED IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

THE QUESTION WAS SUBMITTED BY YOU TO THE CORPORATION COUNSEL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND YOU WERE ADVISED BY HIM THAT AS THE QUESTION HAD NOT BEEN DEFINITELY DECIDED BY THE COURTS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, THE SAFE POLICY TO PURSUE UNDOUBTEDLY WOULD BE TO PAY THE MONEY INTO THE REGISTRY OF THE COURT IN EVERY CASE WHERE THE PROPERTY TO BE ACQUIRED IS SUBJECT TO JUDGMENTS OR TO REQUIRE THE OWNERS TO SATISFY THE JUDGMENTS.

YOU REFER TO A DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY, 10 COMP. DEC. 852, HOLDING THAT TITLE ACQUIRED UNDER A PROCEEDING BY EXERCISE OF THE RIGHT OF EMINENT DOMAIN BECOMES PARAMOUNT TO AND OPERATES TO DISCHARGE LAND FROM THE LIEN OF THE JUDGMENT CREDITORS OF THE OWNERS OF THE LAND. THERE APPEARS NOTHING IN SAID DECISION INCONSISTENT WITH THE PROCEDURE RECOMMENDED BY THE CORPORATION COUNSEL WHICH SEEMS TO BE THE SAFEST AND BEST PROCEDURE TO FOLLOW IN SUCH CASES. IT MAY BE POSSIBLE ALSO, THAT BY PROPER ORDER IN THE CONDEMNATION PROCEEDINGS AT THE TIME OF CONFIRMING THE AWARD, THE COURT MAY SO MOLD ITS JUDGMENT OF CONFIRMATION AS TO PROVIDE FOR SATISFACTION OF JUDGMENTS OF RECORD.

THERE NEED BE NO QUESTION RAISED AS TO THE TITLE TO THE LAND; IT BECOMES VESTED IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA UPON THE PAYMENT INTO THE REGISTRY OF THE COURT OF THE AMOUNT AWARDED.

THE QUESTION IS AS TO WHO IS ENTITLED TO THE AMOUNT AWARDED FOR THE LAND, AND IF THE SAID AMOUNT IS PAID INTO THE REGISTRY OF THE COURT, THE RESPECTIVE RIGHTS OF THE HOLDERS OF THE RECORD TITLE AND THEIR JUDGMENT CREDITORS MAY BE PASSED ON BY THE COURT, IF SUCH QUESTION IS RAISED.