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Eminent Domain & Condemnation

Miller, Miller & Canby has been protecting client rights when their property interests are threatened, or taken, by governmental authorities for public use since the firm was founded in 1946. Our experienced Maryland eminent domain and condemnation attorneys assure that governmental exercise of power is authorized and that our clients’ rights to full and just compensation are honored and protected through pre-condemnation planning, valuation, settlement negotiation and trial in both direct and indirect condemnation cases.

In cases of eminent domain law, also referred to as condemnation, the property owner is constitutionally entitled to be paid “just compensation,” which includes both the fair market value of any property taken for a public use and damages for any diminution in value caused to property not taken. The measure of full Just Compensation is often vigorously contested by the condemning authority. It is wise for owners to engage qualified and experienced eminent domain counsel to represent their interests to insure they are fully compensated for their loss.

Best Law Firms 2021 - U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News – Best Lawyers® has awarded Miller, Miller & Canby a 2020 First Tier ranking in the Washington, DC metropolitan area for Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law.

This is the fourth time the practice has been awarded a Tier 1 ranking, the highest rank given. Rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their field, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process. Read More >

Maryland Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law

Miller, Miller & Canby attorneys lecture regularly on eminent domain and condemnation best practices. The litigation skills of our attorneys, combined with their knowledge of real estate and the unique procedures and rules applicable to Maryland eminent domain and condemnation cases, permit them to provide the highest quality legal representation in this unique area of the law.

Owners’ Counsel of America
Owners’ Counsel of America

Owners’ Counsel of America Attorneys are chosen to be members of the OCA based upon their expertise and commitment to private property rights. Membership is restricted to one attorney from each state across the country. Miller, Miller & Canby’s Joseph Suntum is the Owners’ Counsel of America member attorney for the State of Maryland and Chair of the Owners’ Counsel Board of Directors succeeding James Thompson, who is an emeritus attorney member of OCA.

Property Rights

An Owner’s Handbook

The laws and procedures of eminent domain, also known as condemnation, vary from state to state. Each state has precise policies, procedures and legal precedent that complicate this area of law, making the counsel of an experienced eminent domain and condemnation attorney necessary. Miller, Miller & Canby attorney, Joe Suntum, is the Maryland Eminent Domain and Condemnation member attorney of the Owners’ Counsel of America. James Thompson of Miller, Miller & Canby is an emeritus member of the Owners’ Counsel of America.

To safeguard private property ownership against eminent domain power, the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides that private property can only be taken for a public use upon payment of “just compensation.” But what constitutes public use and how just compensation should be calculated is often a complex and disputed issue.

If you receive a written notice of property taking, or if you even hear a rumor that your property may be taken or condemned, protect your property rights and heed this advice:

  • Do not discuss any issue pertaining to the value of your property with anyone without first consulting counsel, as statements made by you may constitute admissions and be used against you in the condemnation proceeding.
  • Do not attempt to value your property without the advice of a competent real estate appraiser. Seek an experienced lawyer’s advice before retaining an appraiser, as the timing of the appraisal and date of value may affect your compensation.
  • Do not attempt to obtain building permits, variances, zone changes, subdivision approvals, curb cuts or any other government approvals without consulting your counsel, as such actions may significantly affect the property’s value and the calculation of Just Compensation.
  • Do not apply for real estate tax assessment reductions without first consulting your counsel, as your challenge of a tax assessment may be used against you as an admission of the property’s value.
  • Do not permit anyone to conduct any tests such as borings, explorations for hazardous waste, or test wells for a water supply, unless counsel confirms such tests are necessary for the project and secures written agreement that copies of all test data and reports will be supplied to you and that the condemnor will be responsible for all costs and damages.
  • Do not supply copies of leases, expense records, profit and loss statements or similar documents to the government or its representatives without first referring such requests to counsel.

This advice is not all-inclusive. Contact an experienced Miller, Miller & Canby attorney for a consultation.

Testimonials

Joe and Amy were great people first, then great lawyers. This case was very important to us, and they treated us with compassion and care. I simply can't speak highly enough about this firm.

Lilly Barboutsis

Diane was tremendous in her preparation for trial, approach to my case, and ability to adjust and persuade. I put my complete trust in her and was blown away. I'm grateful that she fought for me and prevailed against what I thought was an injustice.

Brian Reap, Business Owner

Diane's abilities in the courtroom were unbelievable. Her attention to every detail was well thought out and remarkable. We are extremely happy with the outcome.

Cheryl and Kevin Davenport

Joe and his team at Miller, Miller & Canby have been exceptional in the process, and set a new standard in excellence, in depth of knowledge and responsiveness.

Harvey Maisel, Maisel Development Co.

The Townhouse Association of which I am president engaged Miller, Miller & Canby and Joe Suntum to help us with the settlement the Purple Line was offering us. Joe did an outstanding job. The final settlement he got for us was much higher than what was originally offered. We were very pleased.

Wanderly Calderon

Joe Suntum has done an outstanding job representing the owner of an apartment complex that is subject to a partial taking by the State in connection with the construction of the Purple Line. As the President of an apartment management company, and in my previous career, as the partner in charge of the real estate group in the DC office of a national law firm, I have had the benefit of working with many excellent eminent domain attorneys. I would put Joe up there with the best of them.

Jim Ritzenberg, President, SR Management Company

Jamie served on my team as real estate program manager for 11 years with consummate integrity, professionalism and a selfless commitment to resolve complex issues, ensuring successful completion of numerous time-constrained high-profile border security infrastructure and facility construction projects. Jamie's real estate and eminent domain knowledge is noteworthy, but the key ingredient to his effectiveness is his tenacious determination and innate ability to dismantle intricate issues and distill them down to a clear, actionable gameplan. Jamie is a rare asset to have on your team, especially when the challenges are great and the stakes are high.

Loren Flossman, Director, Border Infrastructure PMO, Program Management Office, Directorate, U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Customs and Border Protection

We were delighted with Miller, Miller and Canby's representation in a condemnation action, when a portion of one of our Maryland commercial properties was taken by the State to widen a road. Jamie's professionalism, thorough communication and attention to detail put us at ease throughout the entire process, and he exceeded our expectations -- successfully negotiating compensation that nearly doubled the State's original offer. Outstanding job!

Brian Smith

The guy's a wizard when it comes to condemnation...five out of five stars...

Tom Tracy, Regional Counsel, Toll Brothers, Inc.

What distinguishes Joe Suntum as an attorney is his dogged tenacity. He simply won't quit. His commitment to preserve and protect the rights of his clients is pure and genuine. Joe is a courageous lawyer.

Lowell Baier, Baier Properties Inc.

Bob Gough and the entire Miller, Miller & Canby team are problem solvers, exhibiting a 'can do' attitude every time we work together. Their comprehensive services are always of the highest integrity and quality.

Paul L. Klinedinst

We worked with Bob on a very time-sensitive leasing matter. He was available to us anytime we needed him, patiently answering our questions about the negotiation process, and skillfully guiding us to a successful resolution. We were thrilled to be open for business in record time.

James McWhorter and Yasmin, Abadian Market at River Falls

Eminent Domain Representative Cases


Before Boundary Survey - Residentially Zoned
Before
After Boundary Survey - Residentially Zoned
After

Industrial & Residentially Zoned – Unimproved Property

Montgomery County, MD

  • Initial Offer:
  • $3,750,000
  • Final Award:
  • $8,545,000

Montgomery County condemned 82.12 acres of industrial and residentially zoned undeveloped property located in the NW quadrant of I-270 and Rt. 121 for the purpose of the North County Depot Project.

Shopping Center - Before
Before
Shopping Center - After
After

Shopping Center

Prince George's County, MD

  • Initial Offer:
  • $3,750,000
  • Final Award:
  • $12,500,000

Taking of 1.18 acres of a 7.83 acre shopping center in the NW quadrant of New Hampshire Avenue and University Boulevard for the construction of a bus transit facility. The loss of parking would substantially damage the value and operation of the shopping center.

Case Studies


College Park Maryland

Partial Takings for Road Widening – College Park Maryland

Issue: Jamie represented a number of commercial landowners in College Park Maryland, portions of whose properties were condemned by the State Highway ...read more →

Partial Takings for Road Widening - Howard County

Partial Takings for Road Widening – Howard County

Issue: Jamie represented a number of Howard County, Maryland residential landowners, portions of whose properties were condemned by the State Highway ...read more →

Wintergreen Shopping Center Thumbnail

Breach of Commercial Lease and Appeal

Issue: Client owned the Wintergreen Shopping Center on Rockville Pike, which was anchored by Circuit City.  Circuit City’s lease contained a provision ...read more →

Zoned for Single-Family Residential Use

Highest and Best Use – Full Development Potential

Issue: Clients owned a 7.92 acre parcel of property improved with a single-family home in Silver Spring. The property was zoned for single-family residential...read more →

150-unit Garden Apartment Complex

Severance Damages

Issue: Client owned a 6.77-acre property improved with 150-unit garden apartment complex. The apartments enjoyed a park setting as they backed up to the ...read more →

Partial Take - Complete Damages

Partial Take – Complete Damages

Issue: Client owned property improved with Wendy’s fast food restaurant. State filed condemnation action to take a portion of the property for the State’...read more →

necessity-to-take

Necessity to Take

Issue: Client owned 2-acre shopping center improved with a grocery store situated close to the roadway. The road needed to be widened to accommodate the ...read more →

Purple Line Projects

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