When the government takes part or all of your land for a public purpose, the property owner is legally entitled to “just compensation” – that is, what a fully informed seller and buyer would have voluntarily agreed to for the price of the property taken. If only part of the property is taken, the property owner is also entitled to damages the taking has caused to the remaining property. However, despite these principles, the actual amount of compensation owed is often vastly different from the government’s and the property owner’s perspective. In such cases, the total amount of compensation owed is contested, and is resolved either by settlement negotiation, mediation, or by trial. Ethan Steele has the experience and expertise to help obtain as much compensation as reasonably possible for the property owner.
Ways to Maximize Your Award:
Consultant an Attorney who specializes in condemnation/eminent domain law:
Attorneys who specialize in this field know how to maximize the value of your property. One of the ways this may be accomplished is by requesting a different type of appraisal than the one being offered to you by the government.
We do not charge for initial consultations and typically are willing to take these cases on a percentage or contingent fee basis.
Know your rights:
You may contest the value of your property being offered to you by the government. However, if you sign accepting the offered amount, nothing can be done to reverse it even if a higher settlement could have been justified.
Not all appraisals are equal:
An appraisal is not an exact calculation of the value of your property, it is the appraiser’s opinion. The appraisal may be from an in-house appraiser or an appraiser they have hired from the community. Unless you have had it reviewed, you have no way of knowing whether or not it is accurate. Most appraisals can be questioned and some can be substantially challenged.
- ADOT’s initial compensation offer to a landowner in Benson was $425,000.00 for a partial taking of a commercial lot. Mr. Steele's position was that future commercial use of the remaining parcel was limited by the loss of access created by the project. Ethan claimed just compensation of $1,274,400.00. In 2011, after mediation, the parties agreed to a settlement of $737,500.00.
- The Town of Marana was planning to construct the Twin Peaks Interchange and the landowners were offered $620,000.00 for their property. Abromowitz and Steele presented a property value over $1,000,000.00 . The case settled before going to court for $930,000.00.
- The Town of Marana filed for a partial taking from Tucson Electric Power Company. The Town of Marana's Appraiser determined the value of the property to be taken at $498,000.00 and did not account for severance damages. Our position was that there were substantial severance damages that increased the property value. Abromowitz and Steele was able to show that a fair price for the property, including severance damages was $1,162,000.00.
- Pima County offered the clients $70,300.00 for a full taking. There were significant errors in the facts and the legal assumptions of Pima County’s positions. In 2009 the case settled for $1,592,000.00 with an additional $164,569.00 in interest for a total award of $1,756,569.00.
- Pima County offered $198,000.00 to the landowners for a partial taking based on an appraisal that did not include severance damages.
$813,000.00 several weeks before trial.