§ 37-6-23.1. Procedure where no claim filed or owner unknown or under disability.
(a) If, after the expiration of one year following the filing of the description, plat, and statement as provided in § 37-6-14, and after notice by publication as prescribed by § 37-6-16, no petition for an assessment of damages has been filed in the superior court pursuant to § 37-6-18 or otherwise, the acquiring authority may petition the superior court for one of the counties in which the land or other real property is situated for a determination of the fair value of the land or other real property so taken and of appurtenant damages to any remainder, or for the value of any estate, right, or interest therein. After such notice as the court shall order, the court shall proceed to hear the matter and shall enter a decision for the amount or amounts to be awarded and costs. Upon entry of judgment, the acquiring authority shall forthwith deposit the sum so awarded in the registry of the court in a special account to accumulate for the benefit of the person entitled thereto. The acquiring authority making the deposit shall take the receipt of the clerk of the superior court therefor which shall operate as a release and discharge to the acquiring authority for all claims for damages resulting from the taking. When any person entitled to money so deposited shall satisfy the superior court of his or her right to receive the money, the court shall cause the money to be paid over to him or her with all accumulations thereon.
(b) If the owner of or person entitled to any estate, right, or interest in any part of the land so taken shall be found to be a person unascertained, or not in being, or a person whose whereabouts are unknown, or a minor or other person not capable in law to act in his or her own behalf, or a person in military service, or if the owner or person shall default in answering the petition, the superior court before which the proceeding is pending shall appoint an attorney at law duly admitted to practice in this state as a guardian ad litem or other representative for the person, and the guardian or representative shall appear, represent, and be heard in behalf of the person. Before entering judgment, the court shall fix the fee to be paid to each guardian or representative so appointed and the fees for any appraisers engaged by him or her. These amount of expenses to be allowed him or her, which fees and expenses shall be considered charges against and shall be deducted from the sum deposited in the registry for the benefit of the person, and the receipt therefor of the guardian or representative so appointed shall be a sufficient discharge to the clerk of court.
(P.L. 1962, ch. 76, § 1.)