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Property owners win $1 million lawsuit against Ohio Turnpike

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ELYRIA — A Lorain County jury returned a verdict of more than $1 million in favor of Amherst landowners whose property was taken by the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission by eminent domain.

The jury assessed the award of $1,093,181 to be paid by the Turnpike Commission to Timothy Abraham, Joseph Abraham, Donita Abraham and the Abraham Living Trust on Wednesday, according to court documents.

“Justice was served today. Both the United States and the Ohio Constitutions require that just compensation be paid to landowners when an agency like the Turnpike Commission takes their land by eminent domain,” attorney Dennis O’Toole said. “Landowners in Lorain County and throughout Ohio don’t have to accept an unfairly low offer for their property. They have the right to fight taking in court and let a jury decide what fair compensation for the property really is.”

The Turnpike Commission took 0.338 acres of property owned by the Abraham family in Amherst so it could fill in an overpass and eliminate a turnpike bridge, O’Toole said. The Turnpike Commission also sought additional permanent and temporary easements.

The land was acquired by the Abrahams years ago as part of a long-term plan to develop nearly 123 acres of property for a residential subdivision, according to a release from O’Toole McLaughlin Dooley Pecora, the law firm that represented the Abraham family.

The Turnpike Commission hired a property appraiser who set the value of the land taken from the Abrahams at $11,865. A property appraiser hired by the landowners, however, found the damages to the family to be $1.4 million.

Before suing the landowners to take their property, the last settlement offer made to the Abraham family was $11,865, according to the release.

A spokesman for the Turnpike Commission said that after it has time to review the decision the commission will make a determination on how to proceed in its best interest.

The trial lasted three days and was heard by Lorain County Probate Judge James Walther.

Contact Scott Mahoney at 329-7146 or smahoney@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @SMahoneyCT.

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