§ 39-18-6. Eminent domain proceedings.
(a) The authority shall have the power to acquire any transit property or any interest therein by the exercise of the power of eminent domain.
(b) The necessity for acquisition shall be conclusively presumed upon the adoption by the authority of a resolution declaring that the acquisition of the transit property or interest therein described in the resolution is necessary to provide transit services. Within six (6) months thereafter, in the event of acquisition by eminent domain, the authority shall cause to be filed in the land evidence records of the city or town in which the transit property is located (for the purpose of this section all personal property shall be deemed to be located in the city or town where the transit company has its principal place of business), a copy of the resolution of the authority together with a description of the property or interest therein and a statement signed by the chairperson of the authority that the property is taken pursuant to the provisions of this chapter. Thereupon, the authority shall file in the superior court, in and for the county in which the transit property is located, a statement of the sum of any estimate by the authority to be just compensation for the property taken. If the property is located in more than one county, the statement shall be filed in the superior court in and for the county where the transit company has its principal place of business.
(c) Upon the filing by the authority of the copy of resolution, description, and statement in the land evidence records of the city or town, the filing in the superior court of the statement and the depositing in the superior court to the use of the persons entitled thereto of such sum as the court shall determine to be amply sufficient to satisfy the claims of all persons having an estate or interest in the property (and the court may in its discretion take evidence on the question to determine the sum to be deposited), title to the property shall vest in the authority absolutely and in fee simple, and the authority thereupon may take possession of the property. No sum so paid into the court shall be charged with clerk's fees of any nature.
(d) After the filing of the copy of resolution, description, and statement, notice of the taking of the property shall be served upon the owners of and persons having an estate in or interest in the property by the sheriff or his or her deputies of the county in which the property is located, leaving a true and attested copy of the description and statement with each of the persons personally or at their last and usual place of abode in this state with some person living there, and in case any of the persons are absent from this state and have no last and usual place of abode therein occupied by any person, the copy shall be left with the persons, if any, in charge of or having possession of the property, or interest therein, taken of such absent persons if the same are known to the officer; and after the filing of the copy of resolution, description, and statement, the secretary of the authority shall cause a copy of the resolution and statement to be published in some newspaper published or having general circulation in the county where the property or interest therein, may be located, at least once a week for three (3) successive weeks. If any person shall agree with the authority for the price of the property or interest therein so taken, the court upon the application of the parties in interest, may order that the sum agreed upon be paid forthwith from the money deposited, as the just compensation to be awarded in the proceeding.
(e) Any owner of or persons entitled to any estate in or interest in any part of the real property or interest therein, so taken, who cannot agree with the authority for the price of the property or interest therein so taken in which he or she has an estate or interest as provided in this section, may, within three (3) months after personal notice of the taking, or, if he or she have no personal notice, may within one year from the first publication of the copy of the resolution and statement, apply by petition to the superior court in and for the county in which the property, or interest therein, lies, setting forth the taking of his or her property, or interest therein, and praying for an assessment of damages. Upon filing of the petition, the court shall cause twenty (20) days notice of the pendency thereof to be given to the authority by serving the chairperson of the authority with a certified copy thereof, and may proceed after such notice to the trial thereof; and the trial shall determine all questions of fact relating to the value of property, or interest therein, and the amount thereof, and judgment shall be entered upon the verdict, and execution shall be issued therefor against the money so deposited in court and in default thereof against any other property of the authority. In case two (2) or more conflicting petitioners make claim to the same property, or to any interests therein, or to different interests in the same piece of property or parcel of land, the court upon motion shall consolidate their several petitions for trial at the same time, and may frame all necessary issues for the trial thereof; and all proceedings taken pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall take precedence over all other civil matters then pending before the court, or if the superior court in and for the county in which such property, or interest therein, lies, be not in session in the county, then the trial may be heard in the superior court for the counties of Providence and Bristol.
(f) If any properties, or interests therein, in which any minor or other person not capable in law to act in his or her own behalf is interested, are taken by the authority under the provisions of this chapter, the superior court, upon the filing therein of any petition by or in behalf of the minor or other person, may appoint a guardian ad litem for the minor or other person, and the guardian may appear and be heard on behalf of the minor or other persons; and the guardian may also with the advice and consent of the superior court, and upon such terms as the superior court may prescribe, release to the authority all claims for damages for the lands of the minor or other person or for any interests therein. Any lawfully appointed, qualified, and acting guardian or other fiduciary of the estate of any minor or other person, with the approval of the court of probate within this state having jurisdiction to authorize the sale of lands and properties within this state of any minor or other person, may, before the filing of any petition, agree with the authority upon the amount of damages suffered by the minor or other person by any taking of his or her property, or of his or her interests in any property, and may, upon receiving the amount, release to the authority all claims for damages of the minor or other person for the taking.
(g) Whenever, from time to time, the authority has satisfied the court that the amount deposited with the court is greater than is amply sufficient to satisfy the claims of all persons having estates or interests in the property, the court may order that the amount of any excess, including any interests or increment of any sums so deposited, shall be repaid to the authority. Whenever the authority has satisfied the court that the claims of all persons interested in land taken have been satisfied, the unexpended balance, including any interest or increment on any sums so deposited shall be paid forthwith to the authority.
(h) At any time during the pendency of any proceedings for the assessment of damages for property or interests therein taken or to be taken by eminent domain by the authority, the authority or any owner may apply to the court for an order directing an owner or the authority, as the case may be, to show cause why further proceedings should not be expedited, and the court may, upon application, make an order requiring that the hearings proceed and that any other steps be taken with all possible expedition.
(P.L. 1964, ch. 210, § 1; P.L. 1965, ch. 127, § 5; P.L. 1997, ch. 326, § 120.)