A person whose property has been condemned and who is involved in litigation with the condemning authority over the validity of the taking will lose the right to continue the appeal if they withdraw all or any portion of the funds on deposit with the court pursuant to the Eminent Domain Act of 1971, N.J.S.A. 20:3-1, et. seq.; N.J.S.A. 20:3-23. Indeed, last year in Township of Piscataway v. South Washington Avenue, LLC, the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court specifically ruled that “a condemnee could not accept or withdraw deposited funds and thereafter appeal the condemnation on any ground other than the amount of compensation due." 400 N.J.Super. 358, 369.
According to the Court in South Washington Avenue, this holding “fully accords” with existing case precedent relating to appeals from judgments by litigants, who have voluntarily accepted the benefits of such judgments. In those instances, under the common law, a litigant would be prohibited from attacking such a judgment on appeal. Ibid. at 369. The Appellate Division also viewed its ruling as being consistent with the Eminent Domain Act’s provision relating to the withdrawal of funds. Although the Eminent Domain Act provides that the withdrawal of money from court shall not “affect or prejudice the rights of . . . the condemnee in the determination of compensation[,]” N.J.S.A. 20:3-27, the statute does not afford similar protection to the rights of the condemnee in the determination of a taking’s validity and such omission “implicitly bars a condemnee who makes a withdrawal of the deposit from asserting any rights other than those relating to the amount of compensation.” 400 N.J. Super. at 368.