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Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS)

View and Report

Reference Number: MTAS-1275
Reviewed Date: 09/28/2023

View and Report (Jury of View Procedure)
If the date has not been set by the court, the sheriff must give the parties three days’ notice of the time and place of the inquiry. T.C.A. § 29-16-111. [34] On the date and time specified, the jury will be selected (if the names of the jurors are not specified by the court or the parties) and sworn to fairly and impartially, without favor or affectation, and will lay off by metes and bounds the property required for the proposed improvement to assess the damages to the landowner. T.C.A. § 29-16-112.

The jury may then receive brief instructions from the court on its duties, which are to go onto the property, to examine it, to hear testimony of witnesses but no arguments of counsel, to assess the damages, and to prepare a report in writing and deliver it to the sheriff. [35] The jury of view will then be placed in the charge of the sheriff and will proceed to examine the property. T.C.A. § 29-16-113. The parties and their counsel may accompany the jury of view to the property and put on evidence as to its value, but counsel are not permitted to make arguments to the jury of view. T.C.A. § 29-16-113. [36] After the investigation of the property and the testimony have been completed, the jury of view must identify by metes and bounds the property required for the proposed project and must assess damages to the landowner. T.C.A. § 29-16-113. The decision of the jury of view may be a majority instead of a unanimous decision. T.C.A. § 29-16-115. [37] The decision should be reduced to writing, and the report must include a legal description of the property and the amount of the award and be signed by a majority of the jurors. [38]

The report should be delivered to the sheriff who returns the report to the court. T.C.A. § 29-16-115. If the parties do not object to the report, it is confirmed by the court upon motion by the condemner. [39] The court then enters an order confirming the report. T.C.A. § 29-16-116. This order should incorporate the report of the jury of view, should order that the property be divested from defendants and vested in the condemner, and further order that the condemner pay the defendants the amount specified in the report. [40] The order should also specifically provide for the issuance of a writ of possession to put the condemner in possession, if necessary. [41]

If there is no dispute as to the proper distribution of the funds to defendants, the order should specify this distribution; otherwise, the court must retain jurisdiction to permit the defendants to present proof on their respective interests and the proper disposition of the award. [42] This order should also adjudge the costs of the case (normally against condemner) and provide for payment of the members of the jury of view. [43] The maximum amount of this payment is specified at T.C.A. § 29-16-125.

[34] Although the statute does not require notice to be given to parties or agents who are not residents of the county, such notice would be required by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Bryant v. Edwards, 707 S.W.2d 868 (Tenn. 1986).

[35] Wilkerson, supra, at p. 328.

[36] As an alternative, the presentation of testimony may occur at a different location after the jury of view has had an opportunity to inspect the property.

[37] Mississippi Railway Co. v. McDonald, 59 Tenn. 54 (1873).

[38] The attorney for condemners normally prepares the report leaving a blank for the jury of view to fill in the amount of the award. Wilkerson, supra, at p. 329.

[39] Wilkerson, supra, at p. 330.

[40] Wilkerson, supra, at p. 330.

[41] Wilkerson, supra, at p. 330.

[42] Wilkerson, supra, at p. 330.

[43] Wilkerson, supra, at p. 330.