Joseph P. Suntum is principal in the firm and the firm's Eminent Domain/Condemnation Group Leader. His decades of trial experience and his in-depth knowledge of real property valuation and the law of eminent domain allow him to protect his clients' property rights and maximize their compensation when their properties are targeted for condemnation. Mr. Suntum is the Owners' Counsel of America member attorney for the State of Maryland. The Owners' Counsel of America (OCA) is a national network of experienced condemnation attorneys who represent property owners against federal, state and local governments. Membership in the Owners' Counsel is selective and restricted to one member attorney per state.
Mr. Suntum is a rare trial lawyer who has successfully tried both murder cases and multi-million dollar civil actions. He has also successfully argued numerous appeals before the Maryland courts of appeal. Mr. Suntum joined the firm in 1988, and has been a principal in the firm since 1994. He served as Managing Partner of the firm from 1997 to 2008. Before joining Miller, Miller & Canby, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Elsbeth Levy Bothe in Circuit Court for Baltimore City, and served as an Assistant Public Defender for Montgomery County for four years, where he first earned his reputation as an outstanding trial advocate.
Quality legal representation requires the trial advocate not only to apply exceptional analytical and trial advocacy skills to the case, but also be able to coordinate the many resources of the client, witnesses and expert consultants into a cohesive and ultimately persuasive team. Mr. Suntum works closely with his clients to identify and fully understand their goals. He uses all available tools in pursuit of a successful result for his clients as efficiently and economically as the case permits, including use of the latest in courtroom technology to most persuasively present his clients' cases.
The trial of condemnation actions requires full knowledge of the substantive issues concerning land valuation, as well as the unique procedural rules applicable to such matters. Mr. Suntum's knowledge in this area permits him to work effectively with experts such as appraisers, land planners, brokers, developers, and others to maximize the compensation paid to his clients for property taken by governmental agencies.
In addition to eminent domain cases, Mr. Suntum accepts select commercial litigation matters requiring advanced strategic and trial skills.
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U.S. District Court, District of Maryland (1983)
Bar Association of Montgomery County (Secretary, 1995-1996; Executive Committee, 1997-1999; Member, Federal Practice Section)
Maryland State Bar Association
American Bar Association (Member, Litigation Section)
Board of Directors of Montgomery General Hospital, 2003 - 2009
Board of Directors of the Montgomery County Bar Foundation, 2005 - 2009
University of Maryland, J.D., 1982
University of Maryland, B.A., 1979
University of Montana, 1975-1977
Named by Super Lawyers magazine as top 5% of Litigation Attorneys in the state of Maryland
Member, Character Committee of The Court of Appeals of Maryland (1992-1997)
Boland v. Boland, 423 Md. 296 (2011) (Shareholder derivative litigation re: Special Litigation Committees)
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Lasater v. Guttmann, 194 Md. App. 431 (2010) (Conversion, Intentional infliction of Emotional Distress)
8621 Ltd. Partnership v. LDG, Inc., 169 Md. App. 214 (2006) (Specific enforcement of joint venture agreement)
Circuit City Stores, Inc. v. Rockville Pike Joint Venture Ltd. Partnership, 376 Md. 331 (2003) (Commercial landlord-tenant, surrender of lease, breach of contract, reasonable rejection of sublease)
Golub v. Cohen, 138 Md. App. 508 (2001) (Specific enforcement of settlement agreement)
Buxton v. Buxton, 363 Md. 634 (2001) (Fiduciary duty of guardians Laches)
Schochet v. State, 320 Md. 714 (1990) (Constitutional right to privacy)
State v. Calhoun, 306 Md. 692 (1986) (death penalty post-conviction litigation)
State v. Tichnell, 306 Md. 428 (1986) (death penalty post-conviction litigation)
Owner's Handbook: The Condemnation Process and Just Compensation in the State Courts of Maryland, American Law Institute-American Bar Association, Condemnation 101
Compensation for Loss of Visibility to and View From the Owner’s Property
Condemnation of the Whole – Why a Full Taking Involves Unique Considerations
Preparing Your Condemnation Case - How to Get More than the Condemnor's Offer
Post-Judgement Matters and Apportionment Proceedings
Trial Issues in a Condemnation Case
Effective Voir Dire, Opening and Closing Argument From a Property Owner's and Condemnor's Perspective, American Law Institute-American Bar Association, Eminent Domain and Land Valuation Litigation
Essential Exhibits - Demonstrative Evidence in Eminent Domain, American Law Institute-American Bar Association, Eminent Domain and Land Valuation Litigation, 2010, Reprinted in The Practical Real Estate Lawyer
Direct Examination of a Valuation Witness, American Law Institute-American Bar Association, Eminent Domain and Land Valuation Litigation
Taking Your Condemnation Case to the Next Level - Winning Ideas and Best Practices, American Law Institute-American Bar Association, Eminent Domain and Land Valuation LitigationHow to Successfully Settle a Condemnation Case, Lorman Seminar
Discovery and Procedure Techniques That Work in Condemnation Cases, American Law Institute-American Bar Association, Eminent Domain and Land Valuation LitigationDrafting Pleadings That Make a Difference, American Law Institute-American Bar Association, Eminent Domain and Land Valuation Litigation
Demonstrative Evidence in Eminent DomainGiving the Judge and Jury the Big Picture in a Condemnation Case