BOBBY STEVE SIMMONS and JEANNIE L. SIMMONS v. CITY OF MURFREESBORO, ET AL. (Tenn. Ct. App. December 9, 2009)
Appellants granted a sewer line easement to the City. The City hired a sub-contractor to install the sewer line and to restore the property following construction. Appellants, who were dissatisfied with the sub-contractor's restoration, filed suit against the City and the sub-contractor. The sub-contractor subsequently went out of business, and the trial court entered a judgment against the City for $13,070.00, representing the value of Appellants' land plus the cost to repair a fence. Appellants appeal, claiming the proper measure of damages is the cost to restore their property -- $137,779.62. On appeal, the City contends that Appellants may not sue the City, that Appellants breached the contract by refusing the sub-contractor access to their property, and that the trial court's award should be reduced by $132.00.
The proper measure of damages in this case is the lesser of the cost to restore Appellants' property or the difference in reasonable market value of the premises immediately prior to and immediately after the injury. Although neither party presented evidence regarding the property's diminished value, we find that the trial court considered the appropriate factors in setting the amount of damages. Thus, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.
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