TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) — An appeals court Wednesday said the state is liable for compensating Palm Beach County residents for destroying their citrus trees, but ordered a new trial on the amount that should be paid.

The class-action lawsuit is part of a series of legal disputes about efforts by the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to try to fight citrus-canker disease, which has plagued the citrus industry.

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A three-judge panel of the 4th District Court of Appeal on Wednesday agreed with a circuit judge that a “taking” had occurred when the state destroyed more than 66-thousand residential citrus trees. But the panel found that scientific evidence about citrus canker was improperly excluded as a jury considered how much the state should pay in compensation.

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The jury awarded $12.2 million, a total that jumped to $19.2 million with interest, according to the ruling. The appeals court said such scientific evidence could have influenced decisions about the value of the trees.

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“The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.”