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WPI150.15Witnesses—Opinions—Just Compensation

6A WAPRAC WPI 150.15Washington Practice Series TMWashington Pattern Jury Instructions--Civil

6A Wash. Prac., Wash. Pattern Jury Instr. Civ. WPI 150.15 (7th ed.)
Washington Practice Series TM
Washington Pattern Jury Instructions--Civil
July 2019 Update
Washington State Supreme Court Committee on Jury Instructions
Part X-A. Eminent Domain
Chapter 150. Eminent Domain—General Instructions
WPI 150.15 Witnesses—Opinions—Just Compensation
A witness who has special training, education, or experience may be allowed to express an opinion in addition to giving testimony as to facts.
You are not, however, required to accept his or her opinion. To determine the credibility and weight to be given to this type of evidence, you may consider, among other things, the education, training, experience, knowledge, and ability of the witness. You may also consider the reasons given for the opinion and the sources of his or her information, as well as considering the factors already given to you for evaluating the testimony of any other witness.
[In this case,(name of owner)has also been allowed to express an opinion as to the value of the property in question. Again, you are not required to accept this opinion. In determining the weight to be given to this opinion, you should consider the facts and reasons upon which the opinion is based and(name of owner's)knowledge of, and experience with, the subject. You should also consider the general rules for determining the credibility of witnesses, contained elsewhere in these instructions.]
Give this instruction in every condemnation case. The instruction may be incorporated into WPI 1.02 (which contains the general rules for evaluating the credibility of witnesses). See WPI 1.02 (Conclusion of Trial—Introductory Instruction).
Use this instruction, which is tailored specifically to condemnation cases, as a substitute for WPI 2.10 (Expert Testimony).
Use the bracketed material if the owner also testifies on the issue of value.
The first two paragraphs of this instruction relate to expert testimony and are the same as WPI 2.10 (Expert Testimony). For more detailed commentary on these first two paragraphs of the instruction, see the Comment following WPI 2.10 (Expert Testimony).
The bracketed portion of WPI 150.15 relates to testimony by the property owner. By long-standing tradition, a property owner is allowed to testify as to the value of the property in question, even if the owner does not otherwise qualify as an expert. See, e.g., Cunningham v. Town of Tieton, 60 Wn.2d 434, 436, 374 P.2d 375 (1962) (“The decisional law leaves no room for doubt that the owner may testify as to the value of his property because he is familiar enough with it to know its worth”); State v. Larson, 54 Wn.2d 86, 338 P.2d 135 (1959) (owner may testify as to value, but may not base the testimony on an improper formula).
The instruction does not contemplate the possibility of a lay witness, other than an owner, testifying as to the value of the property. In one reported case, a nonowner was permitted to express an opinion on the value of real property. Pacific Northwest Pipeline Corp. v. Myers, 50 Wn.2d 288, 311 P.2d 655 (1957) (neighbor permitted to testify as to value of land). This case, however, should not be interpreted as establishing a general rule that any lay witness may express an opinion on the value of any property. On close reading, it will be seen that the court in Myers looked to the witness's qualifications and determined that the witness qualified as an expert on the basis of personal knowledge and practical experience—a result consistent with the definition of an expert under Evidence Rule 702.
[Current as of October 2016.]
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