MaRous & Company was engaged by a Fortune 500 industrial company that was being sued by
the owners of a casino located on an approximately 165-acre site in a depressed and heavy
industrial area in Gary, Indiana. Our client held the rights associated with an 8.225-acre power
line easement that initially was granted in 1939 and that extended across the casino site and
adjacent to a railroad right-of-way.
We were engaged to review documents, to inspect the property, and to research and analyze
market conditions, comparables sales, value trends, and demand for casino expansion in this
area. We also were engaged to prepare an appraisal review in regard to the valuation report
prepared by the casino’s appraiser and reflecting damages of almost $4,000,000 due to the power
Our investigation reflected significantly declining revenue for the Gary casino and very poor
occupancy levels for the adjoining hotel. Furthermore, the competitive market set for casinos
included facilities that generally were far better located and that were performing much better
than the subject. The alleged trend of development for the subject property for expansion of a
casino resort and convention facilities was totally unsupported. Additional analysis and review
of the comparable sales provided determined that the vacant land sales relied upon by the
casino’s appraiser were located in higher quality retail areas reflecting far superior locational and
demographic attributes; additionally, many of the comparable sales were located more than 50
miles from the subject property.
We also found the casino’s appraisal report basically ignored the gritty nature of the subject area,
which included numerous railroad rights-of-way and multiple, older industrial buildings, some of
which were vacant, were in disrepair, and were suitable for demolition. The position taken by
the casino’s valuation expert disregarded the adjoining active railroad right-of-way, which
constrained any further development of the site.
In conclusion, we found no basis for the plaintiff’s allegation of $3,950,000 in damages due to
the easement, which had been in existence for more than 70 years.
After the report was completed and depositions were taken, the United States District Court for
the Northern District of Indiana entered a summary judgment in favor of our client.