Eminent Domain

Eminent Domain

Public projects often require large tracts of land, and the more ambitious the project, the more likely that municipalities and private companies will need to invoke powers of eminent domain to acquire necessary private property and
access rights.

In this trusted advisor role, we’re frequently involved in:

  • Title research and investigation
  • Preliminary negotiations and litigation avoidance
  • Institution of formal condemnation actions
  • Determination of property rights and just compensation
  • Trial and appellate proceedings

Over the past three decades, we have represented the City of Detroit in various high profile projects including the Cobo Hall expansion, Jefferson Conner Industrial Revitalization Project, Veterans Administration Hospital, City Airport expansion, Fox Theater District acquisitions, and Tiger Stadium matters.

We’ve also represented Wayne County on the Metro Airport runway expansions and the Pinnacle Aeropark Project. Currently, we are representing ITC Holdings, Inc., the country’s largest independent transmission company, in eminent domain proceedings pending in counties across the state.

Few law firms in Michigan possess the amount of experience we have in this important area. Under the leadership of Managing Shareholder Mark Zausmer, who quite literally wrote the book on eminent domain in the state as a principal draftsman of Michigan’s Uniform Condemnation Procedures Act, our attorneys continue to achieve outstanding results both in the field and in the courtroom.

Other examples of our work include:

Wayne County v Britton Trust

In this case, we succeeded in persuading the Michigan Supreme Court that the law of personal property and fixtures lacked necessary clarity. The Court’s unanimous decision overruled decades of prior precedent, invalidated multiple standard jury instructions, and resulted in millions of dollars in savings to municipalities in eminent domain matters.

Simpson-Batavia Transmission Line

Working closely with ITC’s land acquisition team, we acquired more than 100 easements, coordinated with Right-of-Way Agents on the voluntary acquisition of numerous parcels, and eventually initiated condemnation proceedings to secure property rights necessary for a new ITC transmission line that is now operational in Western Michigan.