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Condemnation & Eminent Domain

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Our eminent domain attorneys work together to form the preeminent condemnation team in the Pacific Northwest. Our dedicated and full-time team has handled nearly a thousand eminent domain matters.

We have extensive experience advising and successfully litigating eminent domain matters for our clients. We represent transit authorities, cities, counties, port districts, school districts, fire districts, energy and utility companies, lenders, and property owners relating to the acquisition of private property for public projects. 

Our deep and experienced team is uniquely positioned to advise clients using our broad subject matter and legal expertise with all phases of the condemnation process, including:

Client-focused services
We partner with clients in all phases of the acquisition process to discuss expectations and help formulate fee arrangements that fit each client’s specific goals and objectives.

Pre-acquisition advice and planning
We understand the right-of-way process and advise clients on the nuances of statutory and funding-based requirements, drafting ordinances and resolutions authorizing condemnation, title and covenant issues, reviewing and drafting easements, and relocation benefits.

Early analysis and negotiation of potential condemnation cases
We advise public and private clients at the outset about the implications of project design and construction needs, valuation and litigation consequences, and settlement options to help resolve matters short of litigation. 

Collaborating with other professionals
We work closely with our clients to identify the experts needed to evaluate and best position their cases. We understand and communicate effectively with appraisers, engineers, economists, land planners, developers, contractors, cost estimators, architects, geologists, and other expert professionals.

Mediation and settlement solutions
We promote early, creative, and tailored solutions through alternative dispute resolution, including direct attorney-to-attorney negotiation and the use of outside mediators. The vast majority of our clients’ cases are resolved at or before mediation and without need for the cost and risks of trial.

Complex litigation with efficiency and focus
If trial is necessary, we develop a case plan tailored to the facts and risks of the case. This includes an overall litigation strategy, budget, and road map for achieving the best result at trial, and, if needed, on appeal. Our team has tried numerous multi-million dollar, high-profile, and complex cases often to complete victory for our clients. Our successful appellate decisions have helped shape eminent domain law in our region. Because of this, we are regularly asked to speak and present regionally and nationally on issues involving eminent domain law and condemnation litigation proceedings.

Related legal issues
Our team has expertise in and collaborates with other attorneys within the firm to identify and navigate real estate, construction, leasing, land use, zoning, corporate, and tax issues that often intersect with eminent domain matters.

Representative Experience

  • Recent Highlights Plus
    • We have represented a regional transit authority in over 600 acquisitions for its light rail, commuter rail, HOV, and park and ride projects across the Puget Sound, including over thirty trials and a dozen appeals.

      • In 2020 alone, our team successfully tried four trials. The verdicts were all in our client’s favor and saved the client over ten million dollars in claimed just compensation plus millions more in attorney fees.
      • At trial, we routinely achieve just compensation awards that do not exceed the transit authority’s pretrial settlement offer.
    • We counsel and advise a wide spectrum of clients with the power of eminent domain on all aspects of the condemnation process. We routinely achieve administrative and pre-trial settlement in hundreds of condemnation matters through effective negotiation and mediation.

      • Represented an Oregon transportation district in several acquisitions for bus, light rail, and commuter rail transit service projects.
      • Negotiated administrative resolution for road widening and improvement projects for cities across the Pacific Northwest.
      • Advised utility districts and local pipeline company in navigating final action procedures and condemnation process.
      • Represented a local fire district for fire station expansion project. The jury returned a verdict nearly at our client’s valuation and significantly less than the property owner’s valuation.
    • We represent property owners in condemnation actions throughout the Northwest. Our clients have been routinely awarded just compensation greater than the amount offered by the condemning authority. In many instances, we have obtained reimbursement of legal fees and expert costs for our clients.

      • Represented property owner in multi-week condemnation trial for city roadway expansion project. The property owner was awarded just compensation of nearly four times the amount argued by the city, and awarded fees and costs in defending action.
      • Achieved a $1.7 million verdict for property owner in a city’s acquisition of a family farm for the creation of a park in Gig Harbor ($1.2 million over the condemnor’s evidence at trial).
      • Represented property owner in expansion of the University of Washington Tacoma Campus resulting in a $1.9 million verdict ($900,000 over the condemnor’s evidence at trial).

Team

Primary Contacts

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