Are you a Texas property owner who has received notice that your property is facing condemnation? You have options available to you to protect your rights. You may think the initial offer made for your land is a fair one. If you accept it, your case is closed.
However, you may think they aren’t making a fair offer for your land. One of these reasons could be that you don’t like the terms the condemning authority has proposed. You can also have doubts as to whether the entity actually has eminent domain authority. Texas law and the U.S. Constitution give you the right to take the case to court.
If you decide to take the condemning entity to court, it’s important to have your interests represented by an experienced eminent domain lawyer. You need one who is familiar with the condemnation process. Having the right questions to ask an eminent domain attorney can help you determine if it’s the right legal representation for you.
Questions To Ask An Eminent Domain Attorney
To help you make your decision, here are several specific questions you should ask the attorney during the initial interview.
- What is your experience in handling eminent domain disputes?
- Have you handled any cases similar to mine?
- How many successful trial verdicts, appellate verdicts or settlements have you obtained on behalf of other property owners?
- Do you devote all of your practice to the area of eminent domain and condemnation for landowners?
- Have you represented clients in my part of the state?
- Do you have any clients I can talk to as a reference?
- If I hire your firm, who will work on my case?
- Do you represent any condemning authorities, requiring you to take positions contrary to landowners’ best interests?
- How much do you charge to represent a client?
- What are your relationships with experts, such as eminent domain appraisers, environmentalists, civil engineers, land planners, etc.?
Frequently Asked Questions About Eminent Domain in Texas
Under the U.S. Constitution and the Texas state Constitution, the government can seize private property for public use under eminent domain laws. The process by which this is done is called “condemnation.”
Property owners must be paid “just” and “adequate” compensation when their land is taken in an eminent domain action. Unfortunately, the amount the condemning authority considers to be fair compensation may be a lot less than what the property owner is entitled to.
The good news is a property owner does not have to accept the initial offer and can fight for fair compensation.
Texas landowners often find out their land is being targeted for eminent domain when they receive a “right of entry” request from a condemning authority asking for access for surveyors onto their property. No law requires a private landowner to grant this access. However, refusing entry is not going to stop the eminent domain process from moving forward.
Dawson & Sodd: What You’re Looking for in an Eminent Domain Attorney
At Dawson & Sodd, we encourage potential clients to make a list of questions to ask an eminent domain attorney before their initial consultation. We’re happy to answer any questions you have about our firm, concerning condemnation laws in Texas, and how our law firm can protect your rights, and more.
We focus solely on eminent domain law, and we only represent land owners, never condemning entities.
Types of Property Cases of Eminent Domain That We Have Handled
The law offices of Dawson & Sodd have been helping landowners in eminent domain and other property dispute cases since 1894. We have successfully handled cases involving almost every kind of property, ranging from:
- commercial, office and industrial buildings,
- raw development land,
- convenience stores,
- oil and gas leases,
- water rights,
- natural gas processing sites,
- and recreational, farm, or ranch land.
We have also successfully handled many inverse condemnation cases on behalf of property owners all over Texas.
Texas Eminent Domain Cases We Have Settled
Dawson & Sodd has helped Texas landowners obtain fair settlements in a wide variety of condemnation and inverse condemnation cases, including:
- road and highway expansion projects,
- power line projects,
- pipeline easements,
- new railroads,
- hurricane Harvey flood claims,
- and sport venues like the Texas Ranger baseball stadium and the Dallas Cowboys football stadium.
Our case results speak for themselves. For example, we represented a client when TxDOT condemned their 28 acres along I-35 in Central Texas for a rest stop. Initially, TxDOT only offered $389,323, even though the acquisition destroyed access to the valuable groundwater beneath the land. The case resulted in a jury verdict in favor of the landowner. The State of Texas appealed but eventually agreed to settle for the jury verdict amount. The landowner’s net recovery was $3.14 million.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Texas Eminent Domain Lawyer
At Dawson & Sodd, we offer our prospective clients a free initial consultation. The land owner can speak with an attorney about their situation. This first meeting is a great opportunity for a landowner to determine if an attorney has the background and experience to bring about a successful resolution to your condemnation case.
If an entity with eminent domain authority wants to acquire your land, please contact Dawson & Sodd without delay.