Florida’s rapid growth and development have substantially burdened its public infrastructure, thereby creating demand for new and expanded public improvements, such as roads, schools, hospitals, and public utilities. This rapid growth and development have also promoted the enactment of various federal, state and local laws intended to regulate the use of land and protect the environment.
Macfarlane Ferguson & McMullen has a long history of representing clients whose private property is sought for public use by governmental agencies or other entities possessing the power of eminent domain, or whose property has been taken, without compensation, by some other invasive or regulatory government action.
The Firm has extensive experience in defending clients against state and local acquisitions for road projects, and acquisitions by private and quasi-public corporations for the installation or extension of power lines, and water and natural gas pipelines. It also represents clients in inverse condemnation matters in both physical invasion and police power or regulatory takings cases. The Firm has represented numerous clients adversely affected by statewide mandated comprehensive land use planning, as well as in cases involving state and local transportation access management regulations. Burdens created by Florida’s environmental protection and growth management laws have led to the enactment of new legislation which has created new remedies for property owners against governmental actions or regulations which inordinately burden their property.
The Firm also represents governmental agencies in condemnation and eminent domain matters including defense of inverse condemnation and business damage claims.
The Firm’s clients range from governmental agencies to small land and business owners to owners, developers and investors in large multi-use projects and developments approved and regulated under Florida’s development of regional impact law. To a client, no eminent domain or property rights case is insignificant. In close consultation with its clients, the Firm is prepared to pursue any legal remedies necessary to secure compensation for any property rights taken.
An eminent domain practitioner should have a working knowledge of real property and constitutional law, and keep abreast of the rapidly developing areas of law pertaining to land use and environmental regulation. It is particularly helpful for the property rights attorney to have technical background and training in the areas of engineering, land use, and real estate and business valuation, in order to communicate effectively with the various experts involved in the typical property rights case. The Firm’s eminent domain and property rights attorneys, including a former real estate appraiser and consultant with advanced degrees in real estate and land use planning, and supported by the Firm’s real property, land use, environmental and trial departments, have the experience to handle any eminent domain or property rights matters.
Attorneys handling eminent domain and property rights cases must rely heavily on expert witnesses, and be able to work hand in hand with other professionals. The Firm’s lawyers have developed close working relationships with many of Florida’s leading experts in various disciplines, including appraisers, engineers, surveyors, land use planners, market analysts, and accountants, and as a result are able to apply a team approach to serve the Firm’s clients.