Eminent Domain

Overview

BakerHostetler's eminent domain lawyers understand the challenges, opportunities, and concerns that clients face in connection with eminent domain and condemnation actions. Because we represent both property owners and condemning authorities, we understand the unique and often diverse perspectives of all parties involved, so we are able to seek creative solutions and employ novel approaches to eminent domain issues.

As a firm of more than 900 attorneys throughout 14 offices nationwide, we have the skills and resources needed to handle complex eminent domain actions in a variety of industries, including oil and gas, shale, and utilities. By combining our focused knowledge in the area of eminent domain with our vast firmwide resources, we are able to represent clients on a national scale. We have represented energy companies, homeowners, developers, farm owners, corporations, REITs, banks, nonprofit organizations, universities and colleges, hotels, convenience stores, and restaurants, among other business owners.

As the energy industry continues to grow throughout the United States, it is increasingly important for businesses to expand geographically in order to capitalize on available resources. By working with the lawyers in our energy practice team, we are able to help clients obtain property for energy projects such as pipelines and transmission lines through the condemnation and eminent domain process.

BakerHostetler’s eminent domain practice is composed of lawyers across the United States who are leaders in their respective fields, including energy, real estate, environmental, litigation, class action defense, securities, and regulatory.

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We provide the following eminent domain and condemnation representation:

  • Pipeline, transmission line, and condemning agency representation. We represent private and public condemning authorities throughout the country. When a public or private entity seeks to expand through eminent domain or a condemnation action, we provide advice and guidance throughout the entire project – from planning and negotiations to pursuing an eminent domain lawsuit and litigating any resulting disputes.
  • Pre-condemnation planning. A critical component of an eminent domain action is the pre-condemnation planning, which includes expert selection and negotiations. We regularly work with appraisers, land planners, engineers, accountants, and other experts to develop the appropriate legal strategy and support our client's position. By carrying out a comprehensive business or property valuation as early as possible, we enable our clients to be as well-informed as possible. We also engage in early and cooperative negotiations in an effort to avoid contentious litigation.
  • Property owner representation. We work with property owners of all kinds – including homeowners, developers, business owners, and farm owners – to develop a comprehensive legal strategy. We seek to maximize the compensation of our client's financial settlement and minimize the impact on the remaining property or business operations.
  • Real estate litigation. Our attorneys have extensive experience representing national and local clients in real estate disputes, including regulatory takings, flooding, inverse condemnation, Bert Harris violations, ordinance restrictions, and other property-related litigation.

Select Experience

  • Resolved eminent domain case in favor of a client who was negatively impacted by a roadway project that limited the client's future access. The client obtained a favorable settlement of almost double the condemning authority’s first offer, including payment of all attorneys' fees and costs, and the construction of an alternative driveway that provides full access to the client's property.
  • Resolved inverse condemnation case in favor of the property owner, requiring government entity to clear drainage ditches and canals to allow water to drain based on historic drainage maps. Client was also awarded its fees and costs.
  • Client was granted summary judgment in an action challenging a local height ordinance. Client's property rights were enforced so that the new ordinance did not restrict the property.
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Experience

  • Resolved eminent domain case in favor of a client who was negatively impacted by a roadway project that limited the client's future access. The client obtained a favorable settlement of almost double the condemning authority’s first offer, including payment of all attorneys' fees and costs, and the construction of an alternative driveway that provides full access to the client's property.
  • Resolved inverse condemnation case in favor of the property owner, requiring government entity to clear drainage ditches and canals to allow water to drain based on historic drainage maps. Client was also awarded its fees and costs.
  • Client was granted summary judgment in an action challenging a local height ordinance. Client's property rights were enforced so that the new ordinance did not restrict the property.
  • Represented client in connection with an interstate natural gas pipeline in Florida, which involved more than 200 miles of pipeline easements. Were actively involved in the right-of-way acquisition and condemnation process, and provided advice and counsel to the project manager and right-of-way agents on negotiating and analyzing settlements, procedural issues, mediations, and litigation.
  • Served as lead counsel for the United States in a case concerning complex Fifth Amendment takings claims associated with flooding after Hurricane Katrina. The case, a putative class action consisting of 60,000 property owners, received significant media attention from local and national outlets, and involved billions of dollars in potential claims.
  • Negotiated easement for pipeline across wetlands preserve against a claim of trespass.
  • Acquired easements by negotiation and condemnation on properties across three rural counties in order to allow construction of a pipeline in time to meet contractual obligations and avoid penalties.

Recognition

  • BTI Client Service 30: BakerHostetler advanced 19 positions to #9 (2016)

Key Contacts