Landowner in Bloomington eminent domain lawsuit: If City gets 3 more days, I’d like 3 more days

The City of Bloomington is prepping to knock down the Fourth Street parking garage starting Sept. 3.

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The view looking north along Walnut Street at 3rd Street. The 222 S. Walnut building, subject of the city of Bloomington’s eminent domain acquisition effort is in the foreground. The now closed parking structure stands north of it. (Dave Askins/Beacon)

But the demolition won’t start from south to north, which is one of the scenarios that bidders for the work were asked to contemplate.

That’s because legal proceedings in the city’s eminent domain action continue to grind along.

On June 7, the City of Bloomington filed its “complaint for condemnation” with the Monroe Circuit Court, in a process it hopes will end with its acquisition of the building at 222 S. Walnut.

Juan Carlos Carrasquel is the owner of the property, which is home to his Juansells.com Realty Company. He says he is not interested in selling and has not accepted the city’s offer of $587,500.

The City wants to include the building’s footprint in the planned replacement parking garage at Fourth Street, and has submitted a proposal to the city’s plan commission based on that outcome.

This week, a couple of new filings have been made with the court, one by each side. The City of Bloomington was supposed to respond to the landowner’s discovery requests by Aug. 5—based on a court order shortening the timeframe. (Discovery is the civil process used to get evidence from the other side.) On Aug. 5, the City instead filed a motion for a three-day extension.

From the city’s brief:

…despite its efforts to comply, the City is unable to complete its discovery by the deadline of August 5, 2019, as requested by the Defendant. Therefore, the City respectfully requests the this Court grant the City a three day extension of time within which to submit discover to Defendant, up to and including August 8, 2019.

The next day, Carrasquel’s attorneys responded with a brief of their own, saying that a court-ordered three-day extension for the City should include an order for a three-day extension of the landowner’s deadline for filing objections. The landowner’s deadline for filing objections is currently Aug. 12. Some objections have already been filed by Carrasquel.

The landowner’s response brief includes a mild tweak of the City, when it mentions that the City opposed the landowner’s motion for an extension to file objections, but is now asking for a three-day extension. From the landowner’s brief:

Condemnor, who previously objected to Landowner’s request to extend its period in which to file objections, has requested an additional three (3) days to respond to Landowner’s discovery requests. … Condemnor has requested until Thursday, August 8, 2019, to respond to Landowner’s discovery requests. If granted, this would only allow two (2) business days for Landowner and its counsel to review the production, both for completeness and facts, prior to its deadline to file objections. This duration places and undue and calculated burden upon Landowner. As such, Landowner requests an additional three (3) days to file its objections to Condemnor’s Complaint

A three-day extension for the objections would make Aug. 15 the new deadline for the landowner’s objections.

When the city objected to the landowner’s request for an extension to file objections, the city opposed it, saying, “…the City objects to Defendant 222 hats LLC’s request for an enlargement of time. Time is of the essence in the City’s Project to construct a public parking garage on the property in question.”

Court filings in the case can be retrieved from the state’s mycase.IN.gov online system using the case number 53C06-1906-PL-001293. It’s a new case number, assigned after the change of judge in the case.

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