Condemnation and Eminent Domain Issues

When the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) wants your property for a new road or a highway expansion or bridge, they condemn the property and offer the property owner money in return. When a public utility wants to put a transmission line on your property, they condemn the property or seek a perpetual easement and right of way. There are usually two property rights issues that arise immediately: the property owner doesn't want the road or transmission line at all, or the property owner wants a fair price for the road or utility project.

The firm represents property owners in eminent domain litigation. In some cases, UDOT or other governmental entities seek to put a road right through an existing business or a public utility seeks to put a transmission line on private property and, in those cases, the firm would fight to halt the condemnation or perpetual easement. In other cases, UDOT's or the public utilities' appraisers offer a price for the land that is well below market value or that does not consider the value of what is being lost.

Attorney Peggy Tomsic has extensive experience with eminent domain litigation. Because the government, UDOT and public utilities have financial resources at their disposal, an experienced litigator is needed to balance out the equation and go head-to-head with the government or utility. The real art of an eminent domain case is genuinely understanding how to appraise and value what is being lost. For an eminent domain condemnation of or a perpetual easement on a large tract of land, the appraiser can be the key element in a satisfactory solution.

Property Condemned for Utility Projects: Health Issues and Power Lines

Rocky Mountain Power is one of the utility companies that may seek to buy land for a utility project such as a new power line. There are two main problems with this process: health issues and property valuation.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted a scientific review titled "Evaluation of the Potential Carcinogenicity of Electromagnetic Fields" which stated that the electromagnetic fields (EMF) from power lines should be classified as a probable human carcinogen. There is also conflicting evidence about whether electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) protection should be included in power line projects in addition to lightning protection due to studies connecting power lines to leukemia in children.

While further studies are underway, an experienced attorney can help obtain a property value and purchase or lease agreement that has conditions for known health risks.

Our attorneys are fierce litigators. The firm will not allow its clients to be bullied into submission but will find holes in the opposing counsel's evaluation and demonstrate that the utility or governmental entity will have a hard time at trial. The state has unlimited resources and the firm can help to level the playing field.

Powerful Advocacy for Eminent Domain Litigation

We represent clients in civil and commercial litigation in state and federal trial and appellate courts. To discuss a legal issue related to intellectual property, business tort, fraud or any complex civil litigation matter, please either call 801-359-9000 locally or 866-928-7962 toll free, or contact an attorney via e-mail.