Eminent Domain Group

Few firms in the State share our attorneys’ reputation for success in the areas of eminent domain, inverse condemnation, constitutional takings, and litigation involving private property rights.  Because these practice areas involve legal doctrines, valuation principles, and governmental regulations that evolve rapidly, our attorneys are called upon as "thought leaders" in this niche.  We stay current with latest developments by making presentations to peers and consultants, leading eminent domain organizations and Florida Bar events, and providing expert witness testimony, consultation, and mediation services.

The Eminent Domain Practice Group’s clients are diverse.  Our attorneys represent private property and business owners, ranging in size from Fortune 500 companies to sole proprietorships, in pre-acquisition takings strategy, in negotiations with public sector representatives who seek to acquire land, businesses, and private property rights, and in all aspects of eminent domain litigation and trial work.  Our attorneys also represent dozens of state, regional, and local governmental entities, along with a major utility, that cover a wide range of public sector and regulated industry functions, such as:  (i) roadway and transportation facility construction; (ii) right of way expansion; (iii) creation of transmission corridors; (iv) acquisition and assemblage of land for schools, libraries, civic centers, jails, affordable housing, infrastructure, and public works facilities; (v) community redevelopment; (vi) environmental protection; (vii) drainage and watershed; and (viii) recreation.

Representation of Private Property Owners and Businesses

When acting on behalf of our private sector clients, Eminent Domain Practice Group attorneys first seek to avoid or diminish the impact of proposed takings on properties, businesses, and private property rights.  Our attorneys have specialized expertise in pre-acquisition strategy and negotiation.  All of the Group's attorneys have worked in the public sector, so they have a thorough understanding of how government employees and property acquisition agents implement projects; negotiate compensation, relocation benefits, and moving expenses payable to property and business owners; and configure, and in many cases, reconfigure, acquisition projects.  Each of the Group’s attorneys has a proven track record of successfully litigating, when necessary, the sufficiency of the purported public purpose and necessity of the proposed acquisition to protect those clients who own properties and run businesses.

Another key objective to ensure successful representation of our private sector clients is maximizing full compensation payable to them under the law.  We are well-versed in, and have a long history of successfully litigating, all types of compensation and damage claims, such as special purpose land valuations, business damages, cost to cure property damages, relocation and moving expenses, and valuation of equipment, trade fixtures, and personal property.

The Group’s attorneys draw considerable benefit from the expertise of Firm attorneys who specialize in areas related to eminent domain, such as land use and zoning, environmental, and real estate development. We also have a longstanding reputation of working closely with the most knowledgeable eminent domain experts and consultants located throughout Florida who specialize in a broad range of disciplines (such as appraisal, engineering, land planning, contracting, architecture, and marketing).

Representation of Governmental Entities and Utilities

Attorneys in the Eminent Domain Practice Group have represented dozens of governmental entities and a utility on property acquisition projects throughout the State.  Our extensive eminent domain background ranges from managing large multi-parcel acquisition projects, from inception through entry of final judgment, to acquiring a single parcel through negotiated conveyance.  We frequently assist our condemnor clients in (i) project design and environmental diligence; (ii) value engineering; (iii) pre-acquisition consultation and strategy; and (iv) creation of incentive programs that promote early acquisition of property through negotiated conveyance to avoid, whenever possible, the time, risk, and expense of litigation.  For those parcels that that cannot be acquired through negotiation, our attorneys have a strong record of successfully litigating eminent domain lawsuits through jury verdict.

We regularly consult with elected and appointed officials, along with their staff and consultants, to counsel them about the scope and extent of their eminent domain authority, and to help avoid or limit inverse condemnation and property rights claims against them.  Long before a project is commenced, the Group’s attorneys help our public sector clients evaluate the public purpose of and necessity for their proposed acquisitions. The Group’s attorneys have expertise drafting resolutions of condemnation, relocation policies, acquisition manuals, and all pleadings and legal documents for initiating and litigating eminent domain lawsuits.

As regulation of real property changes, property owners frequently demand that the government provide relief from restrictions that lower their properties' values and utility. The Group’s attorneys also have extensive experience advising clients and litigating complex inverse condemnation, constitutional taking, and Bert J. Harris Private Property Rights claims on behalf of state, regional, and local governments.