Holland & Knight's Eminent Domain and Condemnation Team possesses the depth of experience needed to effectively counsel both property owners and condemning authorities in condemnation matters, including eminent domain law and procedure, case planning and evaluation, pretrial negotiation and mediation, and trials and appeals.
Experienced Counsel for Property Owners
We represent a wide range of owners — including individuals, businesses, tenants, easement holders and mortgage holders — in all aspects of eminent domain and condemnation, inverse condemnation and property rights matters. We are experienced in handling owners' cases that involve takings of all types of property, including multi-use, business, industrial, residential and unimproved acreage. In aggressively protecting our clients' property rights, we attempt to prevent the government from unlawfully taking their property. If a taking does occur, we do our utmost to obtain full and just compensation.
Finding Creative Resolutions
Unlike most litigation matters, eminent domain cases are usually preceded by a period of presuit negotiation between the owner and the governmental authority or other entity with condemnation powers. At the first sign of a dispute, Holland & Knight's Eminent Domain and Condemnation Team takes action aimed at ensuring that the owner's interests are protected and the case is well-positioned. We evaluate the impacts of the proposed taking on the owner's business and property, and assist in preparing the claims for compensation. Our team also assists in mitigating the impacts of the taking by lobbying the government to reduce the size of the taking, make favorable design changes or eliminate the taking altogether. We are often able to reach a creative resolution without the need for additional litigation.
Seeking Just Compensation
If it becomes necessary for an owner's eminent domain matter to proceed to court, and assuming the government is allowed to acquire the property rights requested, our goal is to obtain the full and just compensation to which the owner is entitled. This includes the value of the property acquired and, where applicable, severance damages as well as business damages incurred when a business is adversely affected. We also seek to secure non-monetary benefits, such as improved driveways and access, more advantageous zoning, realignment of roadways, provisions for public services and other property enhancements.
Knowledgeable Counsel for Condemning Authorities
Our team also advises a broad range of condemning authorities — including transportation authorities, utilities, railroads, school boards, cities and counties — in matters that involve the taking of many types of property. Our goal is to see that the property rights needed are acquired efficiently and economically as possible.
We represent condemning authorities in matters that involve the acquisition of transportation rights-of-way (including roads and railroads), airports, school sites, fire and rescue stations, parks, convention centers, electric transmission line rights-of-way and natural gas pipeline rights-of-way. We also help to properly plan the proposed taking and then attempt to negotiate the proposed acquisition without the need for litigation. If a lawsuit is unavoidable, we handle each phase of the case, including filing the complaint, negotiating and mediating a possible settlement, providing experienced representation in a jury trial for compensation and, if necessary, handling an appeal. In such disputes, our aim is to achieve our clients' goals efficiently and economically.
The Benefits of a Unified Approach
We take a cross-disciplinary approach to our Eminent Domain and Condemnation practice, bringing together in a unified effort the significant resources, knowledge and experience of Holland & Knight lawyers as well as the perspective of outside consultants. We offer:
- an Eminent Domain Team led by trial attorneys with extensive eminent domain and real estate law experience
- an in-house appraiser with experience in evaluating and planning eminent domain cases
- an extensive resource of complimentary practice areas, including land use, environmental and governmental attorneys to assist with related issues
- a team of appellate attorneys who have efficiently handled condemnation appeals
- taxation attorneys familiar with the significant tax ramifications involving owners receiving compensation in eminent domain cases
- a team of attorneys who are state-certified mediators to assist in mediation of eminent domain cases
- a network of outside consultants, including appraisers, engineers, land planners, accountants, economists, surveyors and photographers
Whether we are advising owners or condemning authorities in eminent domain, inverse condemnation or other property rights cases, Holland & Knight's extensive resources enable our team to provide the comprehensive approach our clients require, from the onset to the resolution of each matter.