“widening gap” in average price per square foot started to occur in the Acreage as early as 2007 or 2008, when a sudden economic downturn in the real estate market had an undisputed effect on Florida real estate markets state-wide, and he recognized that this event preceded the proposed class cut-off dates employed in his analysis." Memorandum and Order
This case involved residential properties within a proposed 60-square-mile class area in western Palm Beach County known as the Acreage. The property owners in the proposed class area claimed property value diminution due to the alleged threat of contamination from Pratt and Whitney’s jet manufacturing facility located north of the proposed class area.
"The Court also finds the secondary foundation of [opposing expert’s] diminution opinion – the sales trend analysis -- to be fundamentally flawed. [Opposing expert] admits his methodology for calculating “impaired values” from sales trend data in this area is not statistically rigorous or reliable, and admits there are ways to validate such an analysis that he did not perform in this case. His methodology oversimplifies the complex factors that influence home pricing trends, as it makes no accommodation for consideration of important individual variables that typically influence home values, such as age, size, condition or property uses. Nor did [opposing expert] explain a logical basis for drawing a causal inference from any perceived price trends in the time frame examined. [Opposing expert] admits a
"Thus, the Court agrees that [opposing expert] cannot reliably use sales trend analysis to determine a single percentage diminution for the entire proposed class area, containing almost 18,000 properties (15,000 under the secondary definition proposed), and that the mass appraisal methodology proposed by him simply does not fit under the facts of this case. The affected community is not remarkably homogeneous, as he originally claimed, but rather includes a wide variety and scale of homes (equestrian farms, up-scale villas, simple ranch houses) of various ages, sizes and conditions – diverse properties which are not logically impacted in the same way by the alleged environmental stigma which Plaintiffs contend attaches by virtue of their general proximity to contaminated properties at the UTC site or at localized areas within the Acreage." Memorandum and Order
"Due to the scientific unreliability of [opposing expert's] sales trend analysis and CV survey results, the Court grants UTC’s motion to exclude [opposing expert's] proffered testimony on class-wide diminution in property values." Memorandum and Order
"The Plaintiffs’ Motion to Certify a Litigation Class as against Defendant United Technologies Corporation is DENIED." Memorandum and Order
All of the issues related to the [opposing expert's] sales trends analysis cited above were addressed in expert reports, deposition testimony and hearing testimony of Dr. Thomas O. Jackson (January, 2018).
See also: Valuation Expert Testifies in Environmental Class Action Case.
This case involved a proposed class of residential and commercial properties spanning three zip codes in Texas City and La Marque, Galveston County, Texas. Property owners claimed diminution in value due to airborne contamination from a nearby refinery formerly owned by BP Products North America Inc.
"The Court agrees with BP’s expert Dr. Thomas Jackson: “If [opposing expert] found a delta, or price difference, you have to be able to say it’s due to this characteristic that differs between the two areas.” Memorandum and Order
"As Dr. Jackson explains, regression models are designed to compare a subject group before and after a relevant date with a control group before and after the same date in order to measure the effect of some event or circumstance in the subject group." Memorandum and Order
"..... BP’s expert Dr. Jackson states that it is “not a generally accepted valuation method within the appraisal field”.... Jackson presents a number of problems with contingent valuation: it is not as reliable as the existing transactional data; hypothetical bias may exist because the respondents do not have to bear the consequences of their decisions; it does not incorporate many factors that go into a home purchase; and respondents may be biased or not understand the scenarios." Memorandum and Order
"For the reasons discussed above, the Court rules that: BP’s Motion to Exclude Proposed Expert Testimony of [opposing expert] is GRANTED; Plaintiffs’ Motion for Class Certification is DENIED." Memorandum and Order
This proposed class action involved property owners located over an alleged groundwater contamination plume emanating from a Raytheon facility in St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, Florida. The owners of the proposed class properties, which included single-family homes, condominiums and commercial properties, claimed that their property values were diminished by Raytheon’s alleged release of toxic chemicals into the groundwater.
"Defendants, in turn, challenged [opposing expert's] methodology for defining the impacted area, or really the putative class, as “inconsistent with applicable professional standards.” [opposing expert's] area of impact apparently encompassed many properties on which no contamination had been detected at all. Raytheon also introduced its damages expert, Dr. Thomas O. Jackson. Dr. Jackson’s report stated that the Plaintiffs’ expert’s “proposed method of analysis of property value diminution using mass appraisal/regression modeling would be unacceptable for this purpose, and would not eliminate the need to evaluate each property in the proposed class area on an individual basis.” Mass Tort Defense, Sean P. Wajert, Shook, Hardy and Bacon L.L.P., March 2011
Jimmy R. Green, et al. v. City Service Refinery, et al.; 26th Judicial District Court, Bossier Parish, Louisiana (2009)
Proposed environmental class action involving a large number of properties located over a former refinery site in Bossier City, Louisiana.
“…the Defendant’s expert [Dr. Jackson] showed an increase in value over time. A class cannot be certified merely on a pleading’s conclusory allegations… Plaintiffs must prove a factual basis for meeting the class requirements. As the court finds that plaintiffs have failed to prove such factual bases, class certification of this claim is denied without further analysis.” Opinion and Order (2009)
Brian Kremer, et al. v. Rockville TBD Corporation, et al.; Marion Superior Court, Civil Division, State of Indiana (2008)
This case involved a proposed class action involving approximately 135 properties in a relatively new residential subdivision in Marion County, Indiana. The property owners claimed property value diminution resulting from TCE contamination in the groundwater beneath their homes.
"We hired Tom as an stigma damages expert in a class action we defended involving environmental contamination to a fairly new subdivision. Not only did we learn that Tom wrote Advisory Opinion 9, which is the standard on appraising contaminated property, but he did a great job investigating and presenting the facts needed to support our defenses." Bill Wagner, Litigation Partner, Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP
Kathy Pitts, et al. v. North Sanitary Landfill Company, et al.; Common Pleas Court of Montgomery County, Ohio (2004)
This case involved a proposed class action involving
properties located near a landfill Superfund site in Dayton, Ohio.
“..... Dr. Jackson testified that part of his analysis of the target area (i.e. the area surrounding Valleycrest Landfill) consisted of comparing sales in the area around the landfill with comparable properties (the control areas) in the Dayton area in order to observe any price differences between the two areas."
"In performing his analysis, Dr. Jackson stated that he divided the properties into two periods. The first period dealt with sales of the properties between 1984 and 1993, prior to the designation of the landfill as a superfund site. The second period in which he examined sales records extended from 1994 to 2002, after the area had been designated a superfund site."
"He testified that the results from the analysis demonstrated that even after the target area had been designated a superfund site, the average price of the properties being sold in the target area were still increasing at a rate comparable to the control areas. Dr. Jackson testified that his test data demonstrated that the average appraisal prices of properties in the general vicinity of the landfill did not reflect any diminution in value. Contrary to the assertions of Plaintiffs, the price of land in the landfill area was actually increasing rather than decreasing based on data gathered by Dr. Jackson.”
“Accordingly, Plaintiffs’ Motion for Class Certification is hereby OVERRULED.”
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