Best Lawyers Releases 2018 List of Honorees, Includes MM&C Attorneys James Thompson and Joel (Jody)

 

Best Lawyers® released the 2018 Edition of Best Lawyers in America on September 29, 2017. The stand-alone publication highlights 2,886 lawyers recognized for their top legal talent, along with 103 “Lawyer of the Year” recipients from the Washington D.C. metro area. Additionally, the publication features notable local news and profiles of firms and individuals across the region.

Best Lawyers in America will be mailed to recognized lawyers in the Washington, D.C. metro area. The publication will also be distributed in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and the Washington Post in the Washington, D.C. metro area.

Miller, Miller & Canby’s Jim Thompson and Jody Kline have been recognized on the Best Lawyers list in their respective areas of practice every year since first being named in 2007. Mr. Thompson has been recognized for Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law and Mr. Kline for Land Use and Zoning Law. In 2013, Mr. Thompson was also named a “Best Lawyer of the Year” for his accomplishments. This prestigious award is a testament to their long-standing reputations for their individual legal abilities and professionalism.  

Jim Thompson
has been a leader in Miller, Miller & Canby's Litigation Group for more than 35 years, concentrating his practice in eminent domain (with partner Joe Suntum) and in real estate valuation litigation, as well as in property tax assessment appeals and general civil litigation. For more than a decade, Mr. Thompson represented Maryland as the sole member in the Owners’ Counsel of America, a national network of property rights attorneys with demonstrated excellence in this area, focusing upon the representation of landowners in eminent domain litigation. Currently Mr. Suntum is the selected member for the state of Maryland. With Mr. Thompson’s breadth of legal experience, proven results, mature judgment, and tenured leadership within the judicial system and the bar, having served as president of the Maryland State Bar Association, he brings the ideal blend of proven trial experience and legal skill to client representations.

Jody Kline
has led Miller, Miller & Canby’s Land Development department since 1981, focusing his practice in land use, zoning and subdivision law and representing clients in many of Montgomery County’s planning and economic development initiatives. In addition to zoning and subdivision law, he represents clients in matters related to master planning, zoning text amendments, conditional use permits, building permit issuance, and other administrative and real estate matters related to land use and development. His clients include residential and commercial developers, private individuals, religious institutions, private schools, non-profit entities and municipal corporations and agencies.

"For more than a third of a century," says Best Lawyers CEO Steven Naifeh, "Best Lawyers has been the gold standard of excellence in the legal profession." President Phil Greer adds, "We are extremely proud of that record and equally proud to acknowledge the accomplishments of these exceptional legal professionals."

Best Lawyers® is the oldest and most respected attorney ranking service in the world. For more than 30 years, the organization as assisted those in need of legal services to identify the attorneys best qualified to represent them in distant jurisdictions or unfamiliar specialties. Best Lawyers lists are published in leading local, regional, and national publications across the globe.

For more information about Jim Thompson and Miller, Miller & Canby’s Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law practice click here or for information about Jody Kline and Miller, Miller & Canby's Land Use and Zoning Law practice click here.

 

Miller, Miller & Canby’s James Thompson Selected to Senior Leadership Montgomery Class of 2018

 

Miller, Miller & Canby is pleased to announce that James (Jim) Thompson as been selected to join the 2018 Senior Leadership Montgomery Class. For nearly 30 years, Leadership Montgomery has worked to educate, inspire, convene and connect current and emerging leaders to serve the Montgomery County community in constructive ways. Through a series of monthly interactive and comprehensive education sessions with the County’s most prominent senior business leaders, participants have a unique opportunity to increase their understanding of the complex social and economic issues facing Montgomery County and to help advance important initiatives.

Leadership Montgomery graduates play an active role, serving on numerous State, County and nonprofit boards and committees. The organization’s vision is to build and sustain a thriving Montgomery County, supported by a network of engaged, dedicated leaders.

“I am truly honored to have the opportunity to participate in the Senior Leadership Montgomery Class of 2018,” said Thompson. “I look forward to working with the Leadership Montgomery team and with other members of our community to identify opportunities to better serve the businesses, organizations and residents of Montgomery County.”

Thompson has been a leader in Miller, Miller & Canby’s Litigation Group for more than 35 years, concentrating his practice in eminent domain and in real estate valuation litigation, as well as in property tax assessment appeals and general civil litigation. For more than a decade, he represented Maryland as the sole member in the Owner’s Counsel of America, a national network of property rights attorneys with demonstrated excellence in this area, focusing upon the representation of landowners in eminent domain litigation. Additionally, he focuses in civil litigation, including complex real estate and business/commercial disputes. For his accomplishments, he has been named a Super Lawyer in the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia for the past 11 consecutive years, an AV-Rated Preeminent Lawyer for 30 years, a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, and a 2013 Lawyer of the Year Selection by Best Lawyers in the Eminent Domain/Condemnation area of practice. He has also received a number of prestigious leadership awards, including the Daily Record’s Leadership in Law Award and the Century of Service Award, recognizing the top judges and lawyers in the last 100 years in Montgomery County. In addition, he has served the legal community and the public as the President of both the Montgomery County Bar Association and the Maryland State Bar Association.

Learn more about MM&C's Litigation practice. To view the firm's formal press release, please click the download button below. 

  • Download attachment >>
  • The Prestigious 2017 Maryland Super Lawyers List Includes Four MM&C Attorneys

     

    Miller, Miller & Canby is proud to announce that attorneys James (Jim) L. Thompson, Joel (Jody) Kline and Donna McBride have been selected to the 2017 Maryland Super Lawyers list and attorney Diane Feuerherd has been named to the 2017 Rising Stars list, which recognizes attorneys under the age of 40. No more than five percent of the lawyers in Maryland are selected by Super Lawyers.

    Jim Thompson
    has been a leader in Miller, Miller & Canby's Litigation Group for more than 35 years, concentrating his practice in eminent domain (with partner Joe Suntum) and in real estate valuation litigation, as well as in property tax assessment appeals and general civil litigation. For more than a decade, Mr. Thompson represented Maryland as the sole member in the Owners’ Counsel of America, a national network of property rights attorneys with demonstrated excellence in this area, focusing upon the representation of landowners in eminent domain litigation. Currently Mr. Suntum is the selected member for the state of Maryland. With Mr. Thompson’s breadth of legal experience, proven results, mature judgment, and tenured leadership within the judicial system and the bar, having served as president of the Maryland State Bar Association, he brings the ideal blend of proven trial experience and legal skill to client representations.

    Jody Kline
    has led Miller, Miller & Canby’s Land Development department since 1981, focusing his practice in land use, zoning and subdivision law and representing clients in many of Montgomery County’s planning and economic development initiatives. In addition to zoning and subdivision law, he represents clients in matters related to master planning, zoning text amendments, conditional use permits, building permit issuance, and other administrative and real estate matters related to land use and development. His clients include residential and commercial developers, private individuals, religious institutions, private schools, non-profit entities and municipal corporations and agencies.

    Donna McBride
    , a partner in Miller, Miller & Canby's Litigation practice since 2009, has tried hundreds of lawsuits throughout the state of Maryland and in the District of Columbia, approximately 100 of which were jury trials. She focuses her practice in litigation in the following areas:  business and commercial, employment, estates and trusts, personal injury and insurance, as well as real estate.  In addition to her extensive background as a trial lawyer, Ms. McBride is a co-chair of the Maryland State Bar Association’s Judicial Selections Committee, served on the Character Committee for the Court of Appeals, is a member of the Montgomery Inn of Court and volunteers as a mediator for the District Court. She also serves on the Executive Committee for the Montgomery County Bar Association and on the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure for the Court of Appeals of Maryland.

    Diane Feuerherd
    is an associate in the firm’s Litigation practice, focusing in appellate, employment, commercial and business litigation. Ms. Feuerherd joined the firm in the fall of 2013 after serving for two years as an appellate law clerk to the Honorable Lynne A. Battaglia of the Court of Appeals of Maryland, the State’s highest court.  In her two years since joining the firm, Diane has briefed and successfully argued cases before the Court of Special Appeals and the Court of Appeals, and, most recently represented a commercial developer challenging the validity of Montgomery County’s “Rain Tax.”  She is an active member of the Montgomery County Inns of Court and the Montgomery County Bar Association. She also contributes her time to the Finding Justice Project, a committee of the Women’s Bar Association Foundation, researching and memorializing the history of women lawyers in Maryland.
     
    Mr. Thompson has been named a Super Lawyer for each of the past 11 years; Mr. Kline for the past 10 years, and Ms. McBride since 2014. 2017 is the second year Ms. Feuerherd has been selected as a Rising Star. They join other Miller, Miller & Canby attorneys previously named Super Lawyers, including Joe Suntum and Pat McKeever.

    Super Lawyers, part of Thomson Reuters, is a research-driven, peer influenced rating service of outstanding lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Attorneys are selected from more than 70 practice areas and all firm sizes, assuring a credible and relevant annual list.

    The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes:
    •    Peer nominations
    •    Independent research by Super Lawyers
    •    Evaluations from a highly credentialed panel of attorneys

    The objective of Super Lawyers is to create a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys to be used as a resource for both referring attorneys and consumers seeking legal counsel. The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country, as well as the Maryland Super Lawyers Digital Magazine. For more information about Super Lawyers, go to SuperLawyers.com.

    Click the download button below to view the firm's formal press release.  Click here to view the digital article in The Daily Record.

  • Download attachment >>
  • Joseph Suntum to Serve as Panelist at International Property Rights Conference in the Netherlands

     

    Miller, Miller & Canby is pleased to announce that Eminent Domain Attorney, Joseph P. Suntum, will speak at the 13th Annual Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conference in The Hague, Netherlands this October. Mr. Suntum is the Maryland representative of Owners’ Counsel of America, a national association of eminent domain lawyers dedicated to representing property owners in condemnation, inverse condemnation and property rights matters.

    Suntum will participate on a panel tasked with exploring the relations and dynamics between private property rights, equality and freedom.   At the center of the discussion is the question of whether the protection of private property rights becomes a barrier for equality and freedom or whether property rights encourages economic, political and social stability and promotes liberty.     

    “The ability to own property and have your ownership legally protected has proven to be a powerful foundation of a robust economic system. Legally protected private property ownership has been argued to be ‘the guardian of every other right,’ and the basis of a free society,” said Suntum.  “But private property rights alone do not insure equality or freedom. Rather, the dynamic relationship between private property ownership, equality and freedom dictates the nature of society and the individual’s place in it.”

    Established by the William & Mary Law School Property Rights Project, the Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conference promotes collaboration between legal scholars and the practicing bar through the annual conference and conference journal.  The 2016 Conference is presented in collaboration with the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies of Leiden University and will take place at the Peace Palace in The Hague.  Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto, President of the Institute of Liberty and Democracy (ILD), will be honored at the Conference with the 2016 Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Prize for his work advocating for legal and property rights reforms in developing nations around the world.

    Read the full press release from The Owners' Counsel of America by clicking here.  You may also view the 13th Annual Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conference Program by clicking the download attachment link below.

    Joe Suntum is a Principal at Miller, Miller & Canby, focusing his practice in eminent domain and condemnation law. U.S. News - Best Lawyers awarded Miller, Miller & Canby a “First-Tier” honor for its Eminent Domain and Condemnation practice.  For information about Miller, Miller & Canby’s eminent domain and condemnation practice click here, or contact Mr. Suntum directly at 301.762.5212 or via email.

  • Download attachment >>
  • Jim Thompson’s Successful MD Tax Appeal Case Chosen as one of the “Top 10 Ad Valorem Tax Cases"

     

    The 46th Annual Wichita Program Appraisal for Ad Valorem Taxation of Communications, Energy and Transportation Properties was held on July 24-28, 2016 at Wichita State University.  MM&C litigation attorneys, James (“Jim”) Thompson and Michael Campbell, represented Charles County, and David Lyon represented the State Department of Assessments and Taxation against the taxpayer’s efforts to obtain a dramatic reduction in the value of an electric generating plant in Charles County.  After a lengthy trial, they were successful in the reported case of GenOn Mid-Atlantic, LLC v. State Dept. of Assessments and Taxation, 2015 WL 9875283 (Md. Tax 2015).  This case was selected as one of the top ten significant ad valorem cases in 2015-2016 because of the complexity of the issues and the large dollar amount involved.  The case involved personal property assessments on property owned by a non-regulated coal plant in excess of One Billion Dollars.  Witnesses for the taxpayer stated that the fair market value of the plant would have been severely reduced by a number of factors, among them the contention that coal plants were becoming obsolete as new environmental regulations added increased costs to their operation and the availability of cheap natural gas made them non-competitive.  The Tax Court considered those issues, but also evaluated the long-term economics of the plant and ruled that the “highest and best use” of the property was a continuation of the existing plant, and there was nothing obsolete about the coal technology as of the valuation dates in 2009-2010.  The Court affirmed the assessments.

    For a detailed summary of the case, click here.  For more information regarding the Annual Wichita Program Appraisal for Ad Valorem Taxation, click here.

    Miller, Miller & Canby has been handling tax assessment appeals for owners of various types of properties in Maryland for more than 30 years, and occasionally represents governmental entities trying to protect their tax base.  In 2014, MM&C’s attorneys obtained millions of dollars in property assessment reductions for its clients.  Our litigation attorneys regularly represent clients at the assessor level, before the Property Tax Assessment Appeals Board (PTAAB), and in the Maryland Tax Court.  We have successfully appealed the assessments on office buildings, hotels, casinos, retail stores, industrial sites, warehouses, apartment buildings and land at various stages of development.  Jim Thompson and Michael Campbell have headed up the firm’s ad valorem tax assessment practice for years.

    Also, Jim Thompson and Joe Suntum have an extensive practice in eminent domain and real estate valuation litigation.  Currently, Joe is the Maryland Member in the Owners’ Counsel of America, a national network of property rights attorneys with demonstrated excellence in this area, focusing upon the representation of landowners in eminent domain litigation.  With their breadth of legal experience, proven results and mature judgment, they have been extremely successful.

    Please feel free to contact Mr. Thompson, Mr. Campbell or Mr. Suntum, at (301) 762-5212 for any property value litigation issues.  For more information about the firm’s litigation practice and representative cases, click here.

    MM&C Attorneys Jody Kline and James Thompson Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® 2017

     

    Miller, Miller & Canby congratulates its Land Use & Zoning Law Practice Leader, Jody Kline and Senior Litigation Attorney, James ("Jim") Thompson, who have each been selected for inclusion in the 2017 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America®.  This will mark the 11th consecutive year for both attorneys to achieve this recognition, as both have been named to this list since 2007.  This prestigious award is a testament to their long-standing reputations for their individual legal abilities and professionalism.  

    Jody Kline is recognized in the field of Land Use and Zoning Law and Jim Thompson is recognized for his litigation practice in Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law.

    Best Lawyers® is based on an exhaustive peer review survey of  more than 55,000 attorneys in 140 practice areas, covering all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Inclusion in this year's publication is based on more than 6.7 million detailed evaluations of lawyers by other lawyers. Corporate Counsel magazine has called Best Lawyers "the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice." Best Lawyers® listings are included in some of the nation's most recognized publications, including The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal and Chicago Tribune.

    For more information about Jody Kline and Miller, Miller & Canby's Land Use and Zoning Law practice click here or for information about Jim Thompson and Miller, Miller & Canby’s Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law practice click here.  View the formal press release by clicking the download attachment link below.  Click here to see Jody Kline's coverage by Washington Business JournalClick here to see Jim Thompson's coverage by Washington Business Journal.

     

  • Download attachment >>
  • MM&C Eminent Domain Attorney Joseph Suntum Awarded Prestigious CRE® Designation

     

    Miller, Miller & Canby is pleased to announce that litigation attorney Joseph P. Suntum, was recently awarded the prestigious CRE® designation from the Counselors of Real Estate®.

    “I am honored and humbled to receive the CRE designation from the Counselors of Real Estate,” said Suntum. “I am confident that collaboration with other CREs across the country and the globe will assist me in providing the best possible representation to my clients.”

    Click here
    to read the May 18, 2016 press release by The Owners' Counsel of America.

    Joe Suntum is a Principal at Miller, Miller & Canby, focusing his practice in eminent domain and condemnation law. U.S. News - Best Lawyers awarded Miller, Miller & Canby a “First-Tier” honor for its Eminent Domain and Condemnation practice. Mr. Suntum is the Maryland member attorney for the Owner’s Counsel of America, a nationwide network of the nation’s top condemnation attorneys.

    For information about Miller, Miller & Canby’s eminent domain and condemnation practice click here, or contact Mr. Suntum directly at 301.762.5212 or via email.

    MM&C Represents Residents in Successfully Settled Lawsuit with PG County Over Catastrophic Landslide

     

    Miller, Miller & Canby represented three Prince Georges County homeowners and achieved a successful settlement with the County that will compensate those homeowners for their losses and allow them to move forward with their lives. The homeowners were the victims of a catastrophic landslide on Piscataway Drive in Fort Washington, MD in May 2014 that ruptured their neighborhood road and permanently destabilized their homes and property.

    Miller, Miller & Canby litigation attorney, Joe Suntum, commented on the settlement, saying, “This settlement will allow these three families to move forward after suffering devastating losses far in excess of the fair market value of their homes.” For the Washington Post story about the successful settlement, please click here.

    Joe Suntum
    is a Principal at Miller, Miller & Canby, focusing his practice in eminent domain and condemnation law. U.S. News - Best Lawyers awarded Miller, Miller & Canby a “First-Tier” honor for its Eminent Domain and Condemnation practice. Mr. Suntum is the Maryland member attorney for the Owner’s Counsel of America, a nationwide network of the nation’s top condemnation attorneys.

    For information about Miller, Miller & Canby’s eminent domain and condemnation practice click here, or contact Mr. Suntum directly at 301.762.5212 or via email.

    Purple Line Update: Maryland Approves Purple Line Contract

     

    Construction to Begin This Year; Property Acquisitions Moving Slow

    The Maryland Board of Public Works approved a contract with a team of private companies to build and operate the 16-mile Purple Line and approval for the contractor to begin “pre-construction activities” has been given. The State is withholding full go-ahead for construction until it receives a full funding agreement with the Federal Transit Administration for $900 million dollars. The federal financial contribution is critical to the project and is expected to be formalized later this year.

    In addition to the federal funds, Montgomery County will contribute $210 million and Prince George’s County is expected to pay $60 million toward the project. The total cost of the project over 30 years, including operation and maintenance, is expected to reach $5.6 billion.

    In anticipation of the start of construction later this year, the State has been actively seeking to acquire privately-owned real property in the right of way. But the volume of properties to be acquired and the limited number of appraisers available to provide the State with independent valuations of the property have slowed the process. Many owners along the planned route of the project have yet to receive offers from the State for their property.

    In order to avoid the delay in acquisition of title to the properties causing a delay in construction, the State will use its quick-take authority where possible. Quick-take authority allows the State to pay into court the amount of compensation an independent appraiser has determined is appropriate for the property and take possession, not title, to the property and proceed with construction. The property owner is permitted to withdraw the funds deposited with the court without prejudice to the owner’s claim that additional compensation is due.

    The quick-take procedure is not available for all properties along the Purple Line route, however. So, the contractor may have to schedule construction around properties that have yet to be acquired until the State completes the acquisitions, either by negotiation or condemnation.

    What Owners Need to Know

    Updated appraisals for those properties for which offers have not yet been made are coming in to the State. Such owners may expect to receive offers to purchase their properties at any time. It is important for owners to realize that they do not need to accept the offers. Often the offers do not reflect the full amount of compensation the owner is entitled to receive. For the properties for which offers were made before the Governor's stay, but for which voluntary sales have not been reached, the State has begun to file formal condemnation petitions. In addition, owners should expect the window for negotiations based on new updated appraisals to be narrow. Additional condemnations will have to be filed in the coming months if voluntary agreements are not reached, in order for the project to stay on schedule.

    The eminent domain attorneys at Miller, Miller & Canby will review any offer made by the State without charge to determine whether we believe you may be entitled to greater compensation than has been offered by the State.  If you are interested in a no obligation review of your offer, or if you have any questions about your rights or the condemnation process, please call our office at 301-762-5212 and ask to speak with one of our eminent domain attorneys, Jim Thompson or Joe Suntum.  To learn more about our eminent domain and condemnation law practice and representative cases, click here.

    Purple Line Update: Residents Along Path of Proposed Purple Line Told to Move Fences & Sheds

     

    The Washington Post reported on January 6 that some Maryland residents along the planned route for the light-rail Purple Line are being told that they have until April 30 to tear down fences, sheds and anything else built on publicly owned land preserved for the project.  Click here to read the full story.  As the article confirms, Maryland is moving full steam ahead with the property acquisition process in order to acquire the property it needs to be able to begin construction as soon as the preferred contractor is chosen and the contract finalized later this year.

    Some properties have already been acquired and other acquisitions are in process. Appraisers engaged by the State to value the property rights needed are in the field and their submitted appraisals continue to be reviewed by the MTA and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) in preparation for offers to be made to owners.

    What Owners Need to Know

    Updated appraisals for those properties for which offers have not yet been made are coming in to the State. Such owners may expect to receive offers to purchase their properties at any time. It is important for owners to realize that they do not need to accept the offers. Often the offers do not reflect the full amount of compensation the owner is entitled to receive. For the properties for which offers were made before the Governor's stay, but for which voluntary sales have not been reached, the State is preparing to file formal condemnation petitions. It is expected that the "first wave" of condemnation petitions will be filed this month. In addition, owners should expect the window for negotiations based on new updated appraisals to be narrow. Additional condemnations will have to be filed in the coming months if voluntary agreements are not reached, in order for the project to stay on schedule.

    The eminent domain attorneys at Miller, Miller & Canby will review any offer made by the State without charge to determine whether we believe you may be entitled to greater compensation than has been offered by the State.  If you are interested in a no obligation review of your case, or if you have any questions about your rights or the condemnation process, please call our office at 301-762-5212 and ask to speak with one of our eminent domain attorneys, Jim Thompson or Joe Suntum.  To learn more about our eminent domain and condemnation law practice and representative case, click here.
     

    Four MM&C Attorneys Named to Prestigious Maryland Super Lawyers List for 2016

     

    James (Jim) Thompson, Joel (Jody) Kline, and Donna McBride have been selected to the 2016 Maryland Super Lawyers list and Diane Feuerherd has been named to the 2016 Rising Stars list, which recognizes attorneys under the age of 40.
     
    Jim Thompson
    has led Miller, Miller & Canby's Litigation Group for more than 25 years, concentrating his practice in eminent domain and real estate valuation litigation, as well as in property tax assessment appeals. For more than a decade, Mr. Thompson represented Maryland in the Owners’ Counsel of America, a national network of property rights attorneys with demonstrated excellence in this area, focusing upon the representation of landowners in eminent domain litigation. With his breadth of legal experience, proven results, mature judgment, and tenured leadership within the judicial system and the bar, having served as president of the Maryland State Bar Association, he brings the ideal blend of proven trial experience and legal skill to client representations.

    Jody Kline
    has led Miller, Miller & Canby’s Land Development department since 1981, focusing his practice in land use, zoning and subdivision law and representing clients in many of Montgomery County’s planning and economic development initiatives. In addition to zoning and subdivision law, he represents clients in matters related to master planning, zoning text amendments, conditional use permits, building permit issuance, and other administrative and real estate matters related to land use and development. His clients include residential and commercial developers, private individuals, religious institutions, private schools, non-profit entities and municipal corporations and agencies.

    Donna McBride
    , a partner in Miller, Miller & Canby's Litigation practice since 2013, has tried hundreds of lawsuits throughout the state of Maryland and in the District of Columbia, approximately 100 of which were jury trials. She focuses her practice in litigation in the following areas:  business and commercial, employment, estates and trusts, personal injury and insurance, as well as real estate.  In addition to her extensive background as a trial lawyer, Ms. McBride is a co-chair of the Maryland State Bar Association’s Judicial Selections Committee, served on the Character Committee for the Court of Appeals, is a member of the Montgomery Inn of Court and volunteers as a mediator for the District Court. She also serves on the Executive Committee for the Montgomery County Bar Association and on the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure for the Court of Appeals of Maryland.

    Diane Feuerherd
    is an associate in the firm’s Litigation practice, joining the firm to expand its offerings in appellate, employment, commercial and business litigation. Ms. Feurherd joined the firm in the fall of 2013 after serving for two years as an appellate law clerk to the Honorable Lynne A. Battaglia of the Court of Appeals of Maryland, the State’s highest court.  In her two years since joining the firm, Diane has briefed and successfully argued cases before the Court of Special Appeals and the Court of Appeals, and, most recently represented a commercial developer challenging the validity of Montgomery County’s “Rain Tax.”  She is an active member of the Montgomery County Inns of Court and the Montgomery County Bar Association. She also contributes her time to the Finding Justice Project, a committee of the Women’s Bar Association Foundation, researching and memorializing the history of women lawyers in Maryland.
     
    Mr. Thompson has been named a Super Lawyer for each of the past 10 years; Mr. Kline for the past nine years, and Ms. McBride since 2014. They join other Miller, Miller & Canby attorneys previously named Super Lawyers including Joe Suntum, who practices in the field of eminent domain and commercial litigation, and Pat McKeever, whose practice focuses in real estate law.

    Super Lawyers, part of Thomson Reuters, is a research-driven, peer influenced rating service of outstanding lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Attorneys are selected from more than 70 practice areas and all firm sizes, assuring a credible and relevant annual list.

    The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes:
    •    Peer nominations
    •    Independent research by Super Lawyers
    •    Evaluations from a highly credentialed panel of attorneys

    The objective of Super Lawyers is to create a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys to be used as a resource for both referring attorneys and consumers seeking legal counsel. The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country, as well as the Maryland Super Lawyers Digital Magazine. For more information about Super Lawyers, go to SuperLawyers.com.

  • Download attachment >>
  • Purple Line: State Making Offers to Property Owners; Construction Expected to Begin Spring 2016

     

    After Governor Hogan was elected last November he put the Purple Line project on hold pending a reconsideration of its cost and benefit. At the time the State was in the process of negotiating the acquisition of the real property that would be required for the project. Some properties had been purchased. Appraisals had been received and offers made on additional properties. And appraisals were in process on others still. Governor Hogan announced his decision to move forward with the Purple Line in June, but the stay had rendered many of the appraisals the State had obtained stale. Since June, the State has been awaiting updates of the appraisals on many properties in order to extend formal offers to purchase the properties. At the same time the State has been trying to negotiate voluntary acquisitions of the properties for which offers have had been made before the stay.
        
    Timeline
    The bids from the three concessionaires to build the Purple Line are due November 17, 2015. A concessionaire is expected to be chosen early in 2016 with construction to begin by late Spring 2016. The State needs to obtain control of the property needed for the project before construction begins. Consequently, the State needs to move forward promptly with its acquisition process.

    What Owners Need to Know
    Updated appraisals for those properties for which offers have not yet been made are coming in to the State. Such owners may expect to receive offers to purchase their properties at any time. It is important for owners to realize that they do not need to accept the offers. Often the offers do not reflect the full amount of compensation the owner is entitled to receive. For the properties for which offers were made before the Governor's stay, but for which voluntary sales have not been reached, the State is preparing to file formal condemnation petitions. The State expects the "first wave" of condemnation petitions to be filed before the end of the year. In addition, owners should expect the window for negotiations based on new updated appraisals to be narrow. Additional condemnations will be filed early next year if agreements are not reached.

    The eminent domain attorneys at Miller, Miller & Canby will review any offer made by the State without charge to determine whether we believe you may be entitled to greater compensation than has been offered by the State.  If you are interested in a no obligation review of your case, or if you have any questions about your rights or the condemnation process, please call our office at 301-762-5212 and ask to speak with one of our eminent domain attorneys, Jim Thompson or Joe Suntum.  To learn more about our eminent domain and condemnation law practice and representative case, click here.
     

    Joe Suntum Joins Distinguished Faculty to Speak at National ALI-CLE Eminent Domain Conference

     

    The American Law Institute’s 33rd Annual Eminent Domain and Land Valuation Litigation Program will be held January 28-30, 2016 in Austin, Texas and will include the nation’s preeminent leaders in eminent domain law.

    According to American Law institute planners, the program will feature  “the best of the best, selected from lawyers who represent both property owners and condemnors.”

    This annual conference brings together lawyers, appraisers, condemning agencies, right-of-way professionals, and members of academia from around the country to share valuable experiences and discuss current and complex issues surrounding eminent domain and property valuation.

    Miller, Miller & Canby litigation attorney Joe Suntum will be speaking on the topic of using technology at trial to enhance the persuasiveness of the argument and case at hand. He will also join colleague Anthony Della Pelle to present a seminar on best practices with respect to taking depositions for eminent domain cases.

    Other program highlights include a talk by Austin Mayor Steve Adler, a former eminent domain attorney; a program on ethics titled “Ethics: Tips and Traps for the Eminent Domain Practitioner”; and a program on one of the hottest topics in condemnation law today: "Pipelines and Energy Corridors: Valuation Perspectives of Condemnors and Condemnees".

    For a complete program agenda or to register for the event click here.  Click the download attachment button below for a PDF of the conference program agenda.

    Joe Suntum
    is a Principal at Miller, Miller & Canby, focusing his practice in eminent domain and condemnation law. U.S. News - Best Lawyers awarded Miller, Miller & Canby a “First-Tier” honor for its Eminent Domain and Condemnation practice. Mr. Suntum is the Maryland member attorney for the Owner’s Counsel of America, a nationwide network of the nation’s top condemnation attorneys.

    For information about Miller, Miller & Canby’s eminent domain and condemnation practice click here, or contact Mr. Suntum directly at 301.762.5212 or via email.

  • Download attachment >>
  • MM&C Attorneys Jody Kline and James Thompson Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® 2016

     

    Miller, Miller & Canby congratulates its attorneys, Jody Kline and James Thompson, who have each been selected for inclusion in the 2016 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America®.  This is the 10th consecutive year that both attorneys have received this recognition, a testament to their long-standing reputations for their individual legal abilities and professionalism. 

    Jody Kline is recognized in the field of Land Use and Zoning Law and Jim Thompson is recognized for his practice in Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law.

    Best Lawyers® is based on an exhaustive peer review survey; more than 52,000 attorneys cast votes on the legal abilities of other lawyers in their practice areas. Corporate Counsel magazine has called Best Lawyers "the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice."  Best Lawyers listings are included in some of the nation's most recognized publications, including The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal and Chicago Tribune.

    For more information about Jody Kline and Miller, Miller & Canby's Land Use and Zoning Law practice click here or for information about Jim Thompson and Miller, Miller & Canby’s Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law practice click here.  View the formal press release by clicking the download attachment link below.

     

  • Download attachment >>
  • Eminent Domain Attorney Joe Suntum Represents Fort Washington, MD Homeowners in Slope Failure Battle

     

    Miller, Miller & Canby's Joe Suntum is representing four landowners seeking fair market value for properties being condemned after a 2014 slope failure in Fort Washington, Maryland. For Channel 9 WUSA9 media coverage, click here.  For the Washington Post article A year after landslide, what price makes up for loss of beloved home?, click here.

    Joe Suntum is a Principal at Miller, Miller & Canby who, in addition to his eminent domain and condemnation practice, handles a wide variety of substantive areas of litigation, including, complex business litigation and appellate advocacy. U.S. News - Best Lawyers has awarded Miller, Miller & Canby a “First-Tier” honor for their Eminent Domain and Condemnation practice. Mr. Suntum is a named Super Lawyer in the State of Maryland, and is also the Maryland member attorney for the Owner’s Counsel of America, a nationwide network of the nation’s top condemnation attorneys.

    For information about Miller, Miller & Canby’s eminent domain and condemnation practice click here, or contact Mr. Suntum directly via email.

     

    Purple Line Project Update: Will Governor Hogan Proceed with the Project?

     

    Guessing whether Governor Hogan will decide to proceed with the Purple Line Project is becoming quite a parlor game for interested parties. Shortly after the election in November, the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) extended the date by which the chosen concessionaires (private contractor / entrepreuneurs to finance and build the project) were to submit their bids to build and maintain the project from January to March 12, 2015, i.e. after Governor Hogan’s inauguration, in order to allow Governor Hogan input on the project. The Governor has not indicated what his decision will be. Rather, he is keeping his options and opinions close to his vest while interested parties, both pro and con, continue to aggressively lobby him.

    Governor Hogan appointed Pete K. Rahn as acting Secretary of Transportation. Mr. Rahn has said that he and the Governor are looking for ways to reduce the cost of the project, as opposed to terminate it, or change the length or chosen route. Mr. Rahn met with the chosen concessionaires who will be bidding to construct and maintain the project and asked them to look for possible cost reductions. The State has now extended the date for bids to be submitted by five months from March 12th to mid-August. Based on reporting by the Washington Post, the length of the extension appears to be two-fold: first, to permit Governor Hogan to make a decision on whether to proceed with the project by mid-May and; second, if the decision is to go forward, to provide the concessionaires 3 additional months to complete and submit their bids.  The post-legislative session timing of the Governor’s decision has some project advocates concerned that the Governor is simply delaying a decision to kill the project until after the legislature completes its session, in order to avoid political blow-back on the Governor’s other priorities.

    In the meantime, the first phase of the project, i.e. acquisition of the private property needed for the project, appears to have stalled. The State continues to contract with appraisers to appraise the property needed—and internally review the appraisals it receives—but no offers are being extended to property owners. In addition, the Board of Public works will not be considering or approving any agreed acquisitions in March. The bottom line appears to be that the State appears to be trying to do all it can to keep the project as close to “on schedule” as possible—without obligating the State to go forward with the project or purchase property before the Governor makes his decision. And that decision is still a couple of months away.

    The eminent domain attorneys at Miller, Miller & Canby will review any offer made by the State without charge to determine whether we believe you may be entitled to greater compensation than has been offered by the State.  If you are interested in a no obligation review of your case, or if you have any questions about your rights or the condemnation process, please call our office at 301-762-5212 and ask to speak with one of our eminent domain attorneys, Jim Thompson or Joe Suntum.  To learn more about our eminent domain and condemnation law practice and representative cases, click here.

    Joe Suntum Presented at the Legal Issues for Maryland Civil Engineers and Land Surveyors Seminar

     

    Joe Suntum was among a panel of the Maryland’s top attorneys who presented to a full house for HalfMoon Education, Inc.’s CLE Legal Issues for Maryland Civil Engineers and Land Surveyors, held in Jessup, Maryland on February 27, 2015.

    New developments in the law are constantly changing the practice of eminent domain and land valuation. Mr. Suntum’s presentation on Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law focused on understanding eminent domain powers, participating in the condemnation process, appealing a condemnation decision and understanding regulatory “takings” and inverse condemnation.  For the Seminar Agenda click the download button below.

    Joe Suntum
    is a Principal at Miller, Miller & Canby who, in addition to his eminent domain and condemnation practice, handles a wide variety of substantive areas of litigation, including, complex business litigation and appellate advocacy. U.S. News - Best Lawyers has awarded Miller, Miller & Canby a “First-Tier” honor for their Eminent Domain and Condemnation practice. Mr. Suntum is a named Super Lawyer in the State of Maryland, and is also the Maryland member attorney for the Owner’s Counsel of America, a nationwide network of the nation’s top condemnation attorneys.

    For information about Miller, Miller & Canby’s eminent domain and condemnation practice click here, or contact Mr. Suntum directly via email.

  • Download attachment >>
  • Governor Hogan's Proposed Budget Includes $312 Million for the Purple Line This Year

     

    Governor Hogan released his proposed budget on Friday, January 23, 2015. His budget includes $312.8 million for the Purple Line “pending review and reevaluation.” The MTA’s acquisition team has confirmed that its instructions are to proceed with the necessary property acquisitions. Property acquisitions are scheduled to be accomplished this year, so construction may begin in late 2015 or early 2016. Consequently, it is reasonable to assume that the budgeted funds are to permit the property acquisition process to proceed in order to keep the project on schedule. The MTA has advised that any delay in the schedule will substantially increase the overall cost of the project.

    The four vendors competing for the contract to build, operate and maintain the Purple Line are scheduled to submit their bids by March 12, 2015. The bids will present the next decision point for the project, as the bids will include how much of the total construction cost the vendors offer to contribute.

    The eminent domain attorneys at Miller, Miller & Canby will review any offer made by the State without charge to determine whether we believe you may be entitled to greater compensation than has been offered by the State.  If you are interested in a no obligation review of your case, or if you have any questions about your rights or the condemnation process, please call our office at 301-762-5212 and ask to speak with one of our eminent domain attorneys, Jim Thompson or Joe Suntum.  To learn more about our eminent domain and condemnation law practice and representative cases, click here.

    Governor Hogan’s Budget Includes the Purple and Red Line Projects

     

    Governor Hogan briefed legislators on his budget today. He stated that money to keep the two projects moving forward is included in his budget, but the extent of the funding was not announced. His formal budget will be released tomorrow.  To keep the projects on schedule pending a final decision it is likely that the necessary acquisition of real property will continue. We will learn more over the next several days as the budget details and continuation of the Purple and Red Line Projects are fleshed out.

    The eminent domain attorneys at Miller, Miller & Canby will review any offer made by the State without charge to determine whether we believe you may be entitled to greater compensation than has been offered by the State.  If you are interested in a no obligation review of your case, or if you have any questions about your rights or the condemnation process, please call our office at 301-762-5212 and ask to speak with one of our eminent domain attorneys, Jim Thompson or Joe Suntum.  To learn more about our eminent domain and condemnation law practice and representative cases, click here.

    Maryland Senators and Representatives Encourage Governor-elect Hogan to Support the Purple Line

     

    Governor-elect Hogan is still keeping his counsel concerning the fate of the Purple and Red Lines confidential. He has repeatedly stated that he will not state his position on the projects until after his inauguration next week—and maybe not for a period of time after that. But both United States Senators from Maryland and seven of Maryland’s Members of Congress have publicly stated their strong support for the projects. In a letter to Governor-elect Hogan Maryland’s federal representatives argue that “(t)he entire Baltimore and Greater Washington area Congressional delegations have fought hard to ensure that federal funds are available to support the Red and Purple Lines…This is truly a historic opportunity that may never come again…”

    See a copy of the entire letter by clicking the download attachment button below.

    The eminent domain attorneys at Miller, Miller & Canby will review any offer made by the State without charge to determine whether we believe you may be entitled to greater compensation than has been offered by the State.  If you are interested in a no obligation review of your case, or if you have any questions about your rights or the condemnation process, please call our office at 301-762-5212 and ask to speak with one of our eminent domain attorneys, Jim Thompson or Joe Suntum.  Jim Thompson was named 2013 Lawyer of the Year in the Eminent Domain category by Best Lawyers and Joe Suntum is the Maryland representative member of the Owners’ Counsel of America—a respected national organization of eminent domain attorneys dedicated to protecting clients’ rights in condemnation.  For more information on Miller, Miller & Canby’s eminent domain practice and the firm’s representative eminent domain cases, please click here.  For the third year in a row, U.S. News – Best Lawyers® has awarded Miller, Miller & Canby a First Tier ranking in the Washington, DC metropolitan area for Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law.

    The eminent domain attorneys at Miller, Miller & Canby will review any offer made by the State without charge to determine whether we believe you may be entitled to greater compensation than has been offered by the State.  If you are interested in a no obligation review of your case, or if you have any questions about your rights or the condemnation process, please call our office at 301-762-5212 and ask to speak with one of our eminent domain attorneys, Jim Thompson or Joe Suntum.  Jim Thompson was named 2013 Lawyer of the Year in the Eminent Domain category by Best Lawyers and Joe Suntum is the Maryland representative member of the Owners’ Counsel of America—a respected national organization of eminent domain attorneys dedicated to protecting clients’ rights in condemnation.  For more information on Miller, Miller & Canby’s eminent domain practice and the firm’s representative eminent domain cases, please click here.  For the third year in a row, U.S. News – Best Lawyers® has awarded Miller, Miller & Canby a First Tier ranking in the Washington, DC metropolitan area for Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law. - See more at: http://www.millermillercanby.com/blog/index.cfm/purple-line-eminent-domain-condemnation-litigation#sthash.7paq10LZ.dpuf
  • Download attachment >>
  • Concessionaire Bids Delayed, But Purple Line Acquisitions Continue

     

    The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) has announced that it has extended the period for the four chosen concessionaires to submit their bids for constructing and maintaining the Purple Line from January 9th to March 12th, 2015 in order to give Governor-elect Larry Hogan time to assess the project after his inauguration on January 21st. Although the bid date has been backed up, the MTA insists that the project construction timeline has not changed and construction will still begin in late 2015 if the new governor allows it to go forward.

    Although the date for concessionaires to submit their bids has been delayed, the property acquisition process is moving forward unabated. Some properties have already been acquired and other acquisitions are in process. Appraisers engaged by the State to value the property rights needed are in the field and their submitted appraisals continue to be reviewed by the MTA and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) in preparation for offers to be made to owners.

    The acquisition process requires that the State make a good faith effort to negotiate a voluntary purchase of the property needed for the project before filing a formal condemnation action. That "good faith process" includes the valuation of the property rights to be acquired and damages caused to any remaining property by an independent appraiser. The MTA and FTA review and approve the independent appraisals upon which the State's offer of compensation will be based. But, it is important for owners to know that they are not obligated to accept the State's offer. Often the condemning authority's offer fails to capture the full value of the property rights being taken, or the damages that will be caused to any remaining property not being taken. Owners should have the State's offer and the appraisal upon which it is based reviewed by knowledgeable counsel before deciding whether or not to accept it.
        
    The eminent domain attorneys at Miller, Miller & Canby will review any offer made by the State without charge to determine whether we believe you may be entitled to greater compensation than has been offered by the State.  If you are interested in a no obligation review of your case, or if you have any questions about your rights or the condemnation process, please call our office at 301-762-5212 and ask to speak with one of our eminent domain attorneys, Jim Thompson or Joe Suntum.  Jim Thompson was named 2013 Lawyer of the Year in the Eminent Domain category by Best Lawyers and Joe Suntum is the Maryland representative member of the Owners’ Counsel of America—a respected national organization of eminent domain attorneys dedicated to protecting clients’ rights in condemnation.  For more information on Miller, Miller & Canby’s eminent domain practice and the firm’s representative eminent domain cases, please click here.  For the third year in a row, U.S. News – Best Lawyers® has awarded Miller, Miller & Canby a First Tier ranking in the Washington, DC metropolitan area for Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law.
     

    U.S. News - Best Lawyers® Names Miller, Miller & Canby a 2015 “Best Law Firm” for Eminent Domain

     

    Miller, Miller & Canby is pleased to announce that U.S. News – Best Lawyers® has awarded the firm a prestigious “First Tier” ranking in the Washington, DC metropolitan area in Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law for the third year in a row. Tier 1 is the highest rank given; the rankings are based on a comprehensive process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, rigorous peer review from leading attorneys in the field, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of a formal submission process.

    Firms included in the 2015 Best Law Firms list are recognized for professional excellence; achieving a top tier ranking represents both quality and breadth of legal skills and capabilities. As a prior recipient of US News’ most prestigious Tier 1 designation, Miller, Miller & Canby is particularly proud to receive the 2015 award, which reinforces the consistently high level of respect the firm has earned with its clients as well as the recognition by other leading lawyers for Miller, Miller & Canby attorneys’ abilities, professionalism, and integrity.

    “U.S. News has more than two decades of experience in providing the public with the most accurate and in-depth rankings of a wide range of institutions,” says Tim Smart, Executive Editor of U.S. News & World Report. “Law firms are an integral part of our rankings and a natural accompaniment to the law school rankings.”

    To be eligible for a ranking, a firm must have a lawyer listed in The Best Lawyers in America, which recognizes the top 4 percent of practicing attorneys in the U.S.

    Regional first-tier rankings will be published in the 2015 “Best Law Firms” General Counsel Publication.  They will also be published online at bestlawfirms.usnews.com

    “We are honored to receive this accolade, and are most appreciative to our clients for entrusting us to advise and represent them in important matters,” said Joe Suntum,  principal with the firm since 1988.

    Miller, Miller & Canby has more than 60 years of real estate, eminent domain and condemnation law focus —protecting clients’ rights throughout the condemnation process. The firm’s eminent domain and condemnation attorneys include Jim Thompson, who was recently named Lawyer of the Year in the Eminent Domain category by U.S. News - Best Lawyers®, and Joe Suntum, the Maryland representative member of the Owners’ Counsel of America—a respected national organization of eminent domain attorneys dedicated to protecting client rights in condemnation. Mr. Suntum is a nationally-recognized speaker on topics related to Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law. Mr. Suntum lectures in national eminent domain litigation seminars conducted by ALI-CLE, as well as in the State of Maryland. He has authored numerous articles regarding eminent domain and worked with the Maryland legislature to reform eminent domain laws and protect the rights of property owners.

    To learn more about the Eminent Domain practice at Miller, Miller & Canby and your rights in the condemnation process, click here or contact Joe Suntum.  Click the download link below to view the firm's press release announcement.

  • Download attachment >>
  • Miller, Miller & Canby’s Joe Suntum to Present at 2015 National Eminent Domain Conference

     

    Joe Suntum is among a panel of the nation’s top eminent domain and condemnation law attorneys who will be presenting for ALI-CLE 2015 Eminent Domain and Land Valuation Litigation and Condemnation 101, to be held in San Francisco on February 5-7. The conference is widely considered to be the most comprehensive gathering of attorneys who focus in this area of the law.  

    New developments in the law are constantly changing the practice of eminent domain and land valuation. While recommended for the practitioner at the early stages of his or her career, the conference is also valuable for even the most seasoned condemnation lawyer. The conference addresses the specific areas where changes will reshape the practice, essentially providing an update on the current state of eminent domain case law, as well as delivering tips on strategies and tactics attorneys may implement in their practice. Mr. Suntum’s presentation, “Opening and Closing:  Laying out your Case and Bringing it Home,” will focus on procedural and persuasive strategies for opening and closing arguments at trial.  For more information on the conference click here.

    Joe Suntum
    is a Principal at Miller, Miller & Canby who, in addition to his eminent domain and condemnation practice, handles a wide variety of substantive areas of litigation, including, complex business litigation and appellate advocacy. U.S. News - Best Lawyers has awarded Miller, Miller & Canby a “First-Tier” honor for their Eminent Domain and Condemnation practice. Mr. Suntum is a named Super Lawyer in the State of Maryland, and is also the Maryland member attorney for the Owner’s Counsel of America, a nationwide network of the nation’s top condemnation attorneys.

    For information about Miller, Miller & Canby’s eminent domain and condemnation practice click here, or contact Mr. Suntum directly via email.

    Jody Kline and James Thompson Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® 2015

     

    Miller, Miller & Canby attorneys Jody Kline and James Thompson have been selected for inclusion in the 2015 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America®.

    Mr. Kline is recognized in the field of  Land Use and Zoning Law and Mr. Thompson is recognized in Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law.

    Best Lawyers® is based on an exhaustive peer review survey; more than 52,000 attorneys cast votes on the legal abilities of other lawyers in their practice areas. Corporate Counsel magazine has called Best Lawyers "the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice."  Best Lawyers listings are included in some of the nation's most recognizable publications, including The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Boston Globe.

    For more information about Miller, Miller & Canby's Land Use and Zoning Law practice click here or Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law practice click here.

    Purple Line News: Dual Tracking Now Underway

     

    The Purple Line Project is moving forward aggressively on two parallel tracks. The State is pursuing the selection of its private partner who will build, operate and maintain the project, while it simultaneously moves forward with the process of acquiring the property it needs in and along the right-of-way, either by agreement, or eminent domain if necessary.

    The Purple Line is Maryland’s first “P3”—Public Private Partnership—project, in which a private company will be chosen to build, operate and maintain the system according to specifications set by the State. Because the chosen concessionaire will be required to maintain the system for 30 years after it is constructed, the concessionaire will be motivated to build a high-quality system—at least that is the theory.  Numerous contending companies submitted proposals to the State last Fall.  The State has chosen its top four companies and will be issuing to those companies detailed specifications upon which they will base their bids within weeks. The four companies will submit their final bids this Fall and the State will select the company with which it will partner by the Spring of 2015. Construction of the Purple Line is scheduled to begin in mid-late 2015 after the concessionaire is chosen.

     In order for construction to begin next year, the State must acquire property and easements from hundreds of private owners along the planned right-of-way. Some properties will be acquired in their entirety. The State will require partial acquisitions or easements over other properties. But the State’s goal is to conclude the acquisition of the property rights it needs now, so construction may move forward without delay once the contractor is chosen and full funding, including matching federal funds, is obtained.

    The first step in the acquisition process is for the State to have the property interests it requires valued by an independent appraiser. The State has engaged numerous appraisers to complete this work who are currently in the field inspecting and opining on the value of the owners’ properties. Once the appraisals are completed the State will offer to purchase the property rights needed and try to acquire the properties, or property interests, by agreement. If a negotiated purchase is not reached, the State will use its eminent domain authority and condemn the property rights it needs.

    It is important for property owners to know that they do not have to accept the State’s offer. Often the State’s appraiser, and consequently the State’s offer of compensation, fails to consider important factors impacting a fair valuation of the property taken and damages caused to the remainder of property which is not taken. A property owner should carefully review the State’s appraisal to insure that the just compensation suggested by the appraiser fully captures the value of the property being taken and all damages caused to the remainder of the owner’s property, which is not being taken. Often a competent review will require the consultation of an independent appraiser chosen by the owner.

    The eminent domain attorneys at Miller, Miller & Canby will review any offer made by the State without charge to determine whether we believe you may be entitled to greater compensation than has been offered by the State.  If you are interested in a no obligation review of your case, or if you have any questions about your rights or the condemnation process, please call our office at 301-762-5212 and ask to speak with one of our eminent domain attorneys, Jim Thompson or Joe Suntum.  Jim Thompson was named 2013 Lawyer of the Year in the Eminent Domain category by Best Lawyers and Joe Suntum is the Maryland representative member of the Owners’ Counsel of America—a respected national organization of eminent domain attorneys dedicated to protecting clients’ rights in condemnation.  For more information on Miller, Miller & Canby’s eminent domain practice and the firm’s representative eminent domain cases, please click here.  U.S. News – Best Lawyers® awarded Miller, Miller & Canby a First Tier ranking in the Washington, DC metropolitan area for Eminent Domain and Condemnation for 2014. Click here to read more.

    View Related MM&C Purple Line Articles:
    The Purple Line and You; Part I

    The Purple Line and You; Part II: Eminent Domain

    The Purple Line and You; Part III: Acquisition of Property

     

    Three MM&C Litigation Attorneys Named Washington DC Super Lawyers for 2014

     

    Jim Thompson and Donna McBride have been selected to the 2014 Washington, DC Super Lawyers list and Amy Grasso has been named to the 2014 Washington, DC Rising Stars list, which recognizes attorneys under the age of 40. All three were also honored as Super Lawyers in the state of Maryland this year.
     
    James ("Jim") Thompson has led Miller, Miller & Canby's Litigation practice for more than 25 years, concentrating his practice in eminent domain and real estate valuation litigation, as well as in property tax assessment appeals. For more than a decade, Mr. Thompson represented Maryland in the Owners’ Counsel of America, a national network of property rights attorneys with demonstrated excellence in this area, focusing upon the representation of landowners in eminent domain litigation. With his breadth of legal experience, proven results, mature judgment, and tenured leadership within the judicial system and the bar, having served as president of the Maryland State Bar Association, he brings the ideal blend of expertise and talent to client representation.

    Donna McBride, a partner in Miller, Miller & Canby's Litigation practice, has tried hundreds of lawsuits throughout the state of Maryland and in the District of Columbia, approximately 100 of which were jury trials. She has played leading roles in complex commercial disputes for large corporate clients and in other areas such as employment disputes, insurance related litigation, real estate and zoning litigation, and trust litigation. In addition to her extensive background as a trial lawyer, Ms. McBride is a co-chair of the Maryland State Bar Association’s Judicial Selections Committee, served on the Character Committee for the Court of Appeals, is a member of the Montgomery Inn of Court and volunteers as a mediator for the District Court. She also serves on the Executive Committee for the Montgomery County Bar Association and on the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure for the Court of Appeals of Maryland.

    Amy Grasso joined Miller, Miller & Canby in 2007 as an associate in the firm’s Litigation practice after completing a federal clerkship with the Honorable Charles B. Day, Magistrate Judge, United States District Court for the District of Maryland. Her practice includes civil litigation for individuals and businesses, with an emphasis on eminent domain, real estate and business litigation. Ms. Grasso is active in state and local bar associations, is a graduate of the competitive MSBA Leadership Academy and is currently a member of the Bar Association of Montgomery County's Leadership Development Academy.
     
    Mr. Thompson, Ms. McBride and Ms. Grasso join other MMC attorneys who have also previously been named Super Lawyers including Joe Suntum, Jody Kline, and Pat McKeever,
     
    Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys.
     
    The Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country.
     

    Purple Line Update: What Property Owners Need to Know

     

    The Federal Transit Administration issued its Record of Decision approving the Purple Line on March 19, 2014.  Now, with federal approval in hand, the Maryland Transit Administration is moving ahead to acquire title to property from hundreds of people whose homes and businesses are located in the right-of-way of the planned project. View proposed Purple Line in your neighborhood.

    If all or part of your property will be required for the Purple Line, you will be contacted in the very near future by an appraiser who will seek to inspect your property as part of the appraisal process.  Some property owners will be asked to give permission to the State to conduct physical inspections, including core drillings, to investigate the nature of the subsurface along the right-of-way, especially on potentially contaminated properties.

    A couple of very important points owners should remember about the process are as follows:  anything a property owner says to the appraiser or State representatives about his or her property may impact the valuation of the property and the State’s offer and, most importantly, owners should know that they do not have to accept the offer presented by the State.  Often the State’s appraisal and, consequently, the State’s offer of compensation for the taking fails to consider important factors impacting a fair valuation of the property taken and damages caused to the remainder of property which is not taken.

    Miller, Miller & Canby attorneys have more than 60 years of condemnation experience—protecting our clients’ rights throughout the condemnation process. The litigation skills of our attorneys, combined with their knowledge of real estate and the unique procedures and rules applicable to Maryland condemnation cases, permit them to provide the highest quality legal representation in this unique area of the law.  U.S. News – Best Lawyers® awarded Miller, Miller & Canby a First Tier ranking in the Washington, DC metropolitan area for Eminent Domain and Condemnation for 2014. Our team includes Jim Thompson, who was named 2013 Lawyer of the Year in the Eminent Domain category by Best Lawyers; and Joe Suntum, the Maryland representative member of the Owners’ Counsel of America—a respected national organization of eminent domain attorneys dedicated to protecting clients’ rights in condemnation.

    The eminent domain attorneys at Miller, Miller & Canby will review any offer made by the State without charge to determine whether we believe a property owner may be entitled to greater compensation than has been offered.  If you are interested in a no obligation review of your case, or if you have any questions about your rights or the condemnation process, please contact our offices at 301-762-5212 and ask to speak with one of our eminent domain attorneys:  Jim Thompson or Joe Suntum. For more information on the Eminent Domain practice at Miller, Miller & Canby, click here.

    For more information on the Land Use & Zoning practice at Miller, Miller & Canby, click here. - See more at: http://www.millermillercanby.com/blog/index.cfm/2014/4/25#sthash.aNHuQ5r6.dpuf
    For more information on the Land Use & Zoning practice at Miller, Miller & Canby, click here. - See more at: http://www.millermillercanby.com/blog/index.cfm/2014/4/25#sthash.aNHuQ5r6.dpuf


    View Related MM&C Purple Line Articles:
    The Purple Line and You; Part I

    The Purple Line and You; Part II: Eminent Domain

    The Purple Line and You; Part III: Acquisition of Property

    MM&C Eminent Domain Attorneys Represent Landowners as Columbia Gas Sues for Pipeline Easements

     

    In a case between Columbia Gas and landowners in Baltimore and Harford Counties in Maryland, MM&C eminent domain attorneys, will be defending affected property owners as they seek just compensation for land sought by Columbia Gas for easements for a $180 million pipeline project.

    For recent Baltimore Sun coverage of the lawsuit, please click here.

    Contact one of Miller, Miller & Canby’s eminent domain attorneys in order to understand and protect your property rights.  For more information about eminent domain cases handled by our attorneys, visit the eminent domain section of this website or contact Joe Suntum.

    Joe Suntum Joins MSBA Land Use Panel

     

    The Maryland State Bar Association's Land Use Committee of the Real Property Section has announced its spring seminar, which will focus on condemnation in suburban and urban environments, land use impact of partial takings, and valuation, damages and severance impacts.  As the state of Maryland has increased its available revenue for public works programs, leading to the approval of a number of large projects, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of takings in the state. Miller, Miller & Canby's Joe Suntum joins an esteemed panel to speak on issues related to this important and timely subject.  

    The event will be held on Friday, April 25th from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm at the MSBA offices in Baltimore, and will feature a continental breakfast.

    For more information or to register click the download button below to view and print the RSVP or contact MSBA Land Use Committee Co-Chair, David D. Freishtat.

    Miller, Miller & Canby has more than 60 years of real estate, eminent domain and condemnation experience in the state of Maryland. The firm's eminent domain practice was awarded a 2014 U.S. News --  Best Law Firms® First Tier Ranking in the Washington, DC metropolitan area for Eminent Domain and Condemnation. Mr. Suntum is the Maryland representative member of the Owners' Counsel of America -- a respected national organization of eminent domain attorneys dedicated to protecting client rights throughout the condemnation process. For more information on the firm's eminent domain practice click here or contact Joe Suntum.

  • Download attachment >>
  • Three Miller, Miller & Canby Litigation Attorneys Selected to the 2014 Maryland Super Lawyers List

     

    Miller, Miller & Canby is proud to announce that Litigation attorneys Donna E. McBride and James L. Thompson have been selected to the 2014 Maryland Super Lawyers list. No more than five percent of the lawyers in Maryland are selected by Super Lawyers. Additionally, Litigation attorney Amy C. H. Grasso has been named to the 2014 Maryland Rising Stars list. This is an exclusive list, recognizing no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state.

    Donna McBride
    , a partner in Miller, Miller & Canby's Litigation practice, has tried hundreds of lawsuits throughout the state of Maryland and in the District of Columbia, approximately 100 of which were jury trials. She has played leading roles in complex commercial disputes for large corporate clients and in other areas such as employment disputes, insurance related litigation, zoning and land use matters and in trust litigation. In addition to her extensive background as a trial lawyer, Ms. McBride is a co-chair of the Maryland State Bar Association’s Judicial Selections Committee, served on the Character Committee for the Court of Appeals, is a member of the Montgomery Inn of Court and volunteers as a mediator for the District Court. She also serves on the Executive Committee for the Montgomery County Bar Association and on the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure for the Court of Appeals of Maryland.

    James ("Jim") Thompson
    has led Miller, Miller & Canby's Litigation practice for more than 25 years, concentrating his practice in eminent domain and real estate valuation litigation. For more than a decade, Mr. Thompson represented Maryland in the Owners’ Counsel of America, a national network of property rights attorneys with demonstrated excellence in this area, focusing upon the representation of landowners in eminent domain litigation. With his breadth of legal experience, proven results, mature judgment, and tenured leadership within the bar and judicial system, he brings the ideal blend of expertise and talent to client representation.

    Amy Grasso joined Miller, Miller & Canby in 2007 as an associate in the firm’s Litigation practice after completing a federal clerkship with the Honorable Charles B. Day, Magistrate Judge, United States District Court for the District of Maryland. Her practice includes civil litigation for individuals and businesses, with an emphasis on eminent domain, real estate and business litigation. Ms. Grasso is active in state and local bar associations, is a graduate of the competitive MSBA Leadership Academy and is currently a member of the Bar Association of Montgomery County's Leadership Development Academy.

    Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys.

    The Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country. Super Lawyers Magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in their practice of law. For more information about Super Lawyers, go to SuperLawyers.com.  To view the official MM&C digital press release, click here.

    FERC Approves Columbia Gas Pipeline Plan Affecting Baltimore & Harford County Property Owners

     

    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) issued an order on November 21, 2013, awarding a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC, for the construction and operation of a natural gas pipeline, and related facilities, from Owings Mills in Baltimore County, to the existing Rutledge Compressor Station, located in Fallston, Harford County. The project includes 21.1 miles of 26-inch diameter pipeline.  

    The property rights to be acquired by Columbia Gas will include mostly easement rights over residential properties.  Armed with the FERC-issued Certificate, Columbia Gas will possess the power of eminent domain, and will proceed to acquire the property easements that it needs in order to build and operate the new pipeline.  See the proposed route.

    MM&C Attorneys have outlined a few things that property owners in the line of this project—whose property is slated to be acquired by eminent domain—should know:

    1. If only part of your property is being taken, you are entitled to just compensation for the property taken from you, as well as damages caused to the remainder of the property as a result of the taking.
    2. Although Columbia Gas is only taking an “easement” over your property—and not taking property in fee simple—you are still entitled to be reimbursed for damages to the remainder of your property, caused by the taking. 
    3. You do not have to accept the offer made to you for the purchase of easement rights.  Instead, you have the right to dispute the offered amount, obtain your own appraisal, and seek just compensation that fairly reimburses you for the property taken from you.
    4. In addition to monetary compensation, the specific terms of the easement will affect your use of your property in the future and should be carefully reviewed and negotiated.
    5. You have the right to representation during negotiations, before a suit is filed.  Pre-suit negotiations can benefit from the participation of an attorney experienced in eminent domain, and you will also be better-armed for trial with early consultation regarding your rights and pre-condemnation planning.

    Miller, Miller & Canby has more than 60 years of real estate, eminent domain and condemnation experience—protecting clients’ rights throughout the condemnation process, and was awarded a U.S. News – Best Lawyers® First Tier ranking in the Washington, DC metropolitan area for Eminent Domain and Condemnation for 2014.  If you have any questions concerning how your property may be affected by this project, or require representation in dealing with Columbia Gas, please contact Joe Suntum, a practice leader in the law firm’s Eminent Domain practice, at 301-762-5212.
     

    Miller, Miller & Canby Recognized for Eminent Domain and Condemnation by U.S. News – Best Lawyers®

     

    Miller, Miller & Canby is proud to announce that U.S. News – Best Lawyers® has awarded the firm a First Tier ranking in the Washington, DC metropolitan area for Eminent Domain and Condemnation for 2014. Tier 1 is the highest rank given; the rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their field, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process. 

    The award adds to the firm's recent notable accolades.  In early November, Miller, Miller & Canby was selected as one of Martindale-Hubbell’s 2014 U.S. Top Ranked Law Firms™, gaining this recognition for having one of every three attorneys achieve an AV Preeminent® rating. Only 2,442 law firms in the country have attained this ranking. The firm's attorneys also have been recognized this year by Super Lawyers, Martindale-Hubbell, and American Lawyer Media.

    Miller, Miller & Canby has more than 60 years of real estate, eminent domain and condemnation experience—protecting clients’ rights throughout the condemnation process. The firm’s eminent domain and condemnation attorneys include Jim Thompson, who was named 2013 Lawyer of the Year in the Eminent Domain category by Best Lawyers, Joe Suntum, the Maryland representative member of the Owners’ Counsel of America—a respected national organization of eminent domain attorneys dedicated to protecting clients’ rights in condemnation.

  • Download attachment >>
  • November 7 Montgomery County Purple Line Seminar: Know Your Rights as Owners & Tenants

     

    Miller, Miller & Canby will host an evening seminar and discussion concerning the Purple Line and property owners’ and tenants’ rights in the condemnation process on Thursday, November 7, 2013 at Rosemary Hills Elementary School.

    Rosemary Hills Elementary School
    2111 Porter Road, Silver Spring, MD 20910
    Thursday, November 7, 2013
    7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.


    You are cordially invited to attend the seminar, at no charge to you, to learn about your rights in the condemnation process or how the Purple Line may affect your property. Click the download button below for more information about this informative seminar on the Purple Line and Your Rights as an Owner.

    Kindly email MM&C to RSVP for this important community event.

    Contact one of Miller, Miller & Canby’s eminent domain attorneys if your business or property is affected by the proposed Purple Line in order to understand and protect your property rights.
     

  • Download attachment >>
  • October 29 Prince Georges County Purple Line Seminar: Know Your Rights as Owners & Tenants

     

    Miller, Miller & Canby will host an evening seminar and discussion concerning the Purple Line and property owners’ and tenants’ rights in the condemnation process on Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at Riverdale Elementary School.

    Riverdale Elementary School
    5006 Riverdale Road, Riverdale Park, MD 20737
    Tuesday, October 29, 2013
    7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.


    You are cordially invited to attend the seminar, at no charge to you, to learn about your rights in the condemnation process or how the Purple Line may affect your property.  Click the download button below for more information about this informative seminar on the Purple Line and Your Rights as an Owner.

    Kindly email MM&C to RSVP for this important community event.

    Contact one of Miller, Miller & Canby’s eminent domain attorneys if your business or property is affected by the proposed Purple Line in order to understand and protect your property rights.

  • Download attachment >>
  • Full Steam Ahead for the Purple Line

     

    Michael Madden, MTA Purple Line Project Manager, provided an update on the Purple Line project to the Silver Spring Action Committee for Transit Tuesday evening (October 8, 2013). Mr. Madden made it clear that the Purple Line project will be moving forward—starting with real property acquisitions—as soon as the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) issues its Record of Decision (ROD), which Mr. Madden stated is expected to occur on December 5, 2013.  Mr. Madden explained that the State’s portion of the funding has been approved and the MTA is laying the groundwork to be ready to move forward quickly once the ROD is signed, by soliciting appraisers to appraise the properties that will be taken and initiating consultations with tenants and owners who will be displaced.  

    The period for commenting on the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) will close on October 21, 2013.  Thereafter, the MTA will consider the comments and incorporate its responses in the ROD, which it expects the FTA to sign in early December.
     
    Mr. Madden provided the overall timeline for the project, including both condemnation and non-condemnation aspects, which include:

    1. The comment period on the FEIS (Final Environmental Impact Statement) closes 10/21/2013.
    2. The MTA expects the FTA to sign the ROD (Record of Decision, which is the final controlling approval of the project, i.e. the formal “go ahead”) on December 5, 2013.
    3. The MTA, in conjunction with the SHA, will begin acquisitions immediately once the ROD is signed in December.  The MTA has already begun counseling tenants and owners who will be displaced and has put out bids for appraisals in order to be ready to move as soon as the ROD is signed.
    4. The project will be a P3, i.e. a “Public Private Partnership” in which a private company will be contracted to build and operate the transit way for 30 years according to metrics set by the MTA.
    5. Responses to the MTA’s Request for Qualifications from potential P3 “concessionaires” are due this month (October 2013).
    6. The MTA will announce the “short list” of potential concessionaires in December.
    7. The bid proposals from the selected P3 concessionaires will be due next August (2014).
    8. The preferred P3 partner will be chosen in the Fall of 2014.
    9. The FFGA (Full Funding Grant Agreement) with the federal government, i.e. the federal government’s funding commitment, is expected to be finalized in early 2015.
    10. Construction will begin in 2015.
    11. Construction is hoped to be completed in 2020.

    Mr. Madden also noted that the MTA and Montgomery County are in negotiations with the owner of the Apex Building in Bethesda and it hoped to know whether the owner will commit to redevelop the building by January or February, so the MTA can finalize their plans for the western end of the project.  He also noted that the MTA now owns the Taco Bell property in Langley Park, which will be developed with the Langley Bus Depot.  The utility work for that project is nearing completion and the pre-construction meeting with the contractor will be held this month.  Construction of the bus depot will take place in phases with the first phase beginning this month.  Construction of the bus depot is scheduled to be completed in 2015 just before construction of the Purple Line begins.

    Contact one of Miller, Miller & Canby’s eminent domain attorneys if your business or property is affected by the proposed Purple Line in order to understand and protect your property rights.

    Miller, Miller & Canby has announced two free seminars on the rights of owners and tenants with respect to the Purple Line condemnation process.
     
    Click the download button below for more information about these important community events.

  • Download attachment >>
  • Joe Suntum to speak at National Eminent Domain Conference

     

    Miller, Miller & Canby’s Joe Suntum will be speaking at the 31st Annual Advanced ALI CLE Conference on Eminent Domain and Land Valuation Litigation.  The conference will be held January 23-25, 2014 in New Orleans.  This advanced conference for eminent domain practitioners will feature nationally recognized professionals addressing new developments in the law and procedure in eminent domain litigation. Mr. Suntum will be discussing the role of technology, specifically using an IPad to enhance your eminent domain case.  For more information or to register, click here.

    Mr. Suntum focuses his trial practice on real estate disputes, most particularly those involving eminent domain and condemnation. He works effectively with appraisers, land planners, brokers, and developers to maximize the Just Compensation paid to his clients for property taken by governmental agencies. Mr. Suntum also recognizes the value of using technology to enhance the presentation and persuasive value of one’s case and he uses his knowledge in this area to benefit all of his clients. In 2013, Mr. Suntum was elected as Maryland’s representative in the Owners’ Counsel of America, a national network of property rights attorneys, a prestigious position awarded to only one attorney in each state.  To learn more about Miller, Miller & Canby’s eminent domain practice, click here.

    MM&C Eminent Domain Attorney, Joseph P. Suntum, Quoted in Washington Post Purple Line Article

     

    Purple Line light-rail system would bring new infrastructure to neighborhoods

    A light-rail Purple Line, estimated to cost $2.15 billion, has no construction funding. Even so, the Maryland Transit Administration continues to refine its design, including an extensive rail infrastructure required to operate, maintain and house the trains.

    That could include 20 power substations, 14 “signal bungalows” containing train-control equipment, a nine-story “ventilation tower” in the Bethesda Row entertainment district, and a tunnel three-tenths of a mile long to be blasted beneath a Silver Spring neighborhood.

    The Lyttonsville area of Silver Spring would get a train storage yard, while part of Riverdale would get a maintenance facility.

    Some Montgomery County residents face the double whammy of losing parts of their front yards to a transitway and living next to a power substation.

    Joseph Suntum
    , a Rockville lawyer who focuses on eminent domain cases, said they might be the fortunate ones. People who lose any land to a public project are entitled to be compensated if their remaining property also has lost value, he said. Those who don’t lose any property are entitled only to financial compensation if a project’s impact on them is significantly worse than on their neighbors, Suntum said.

    That might end up being a question for the courts — and a topic of increasing interest.

    Read the entire Washington Post Article published on September 14, 2013.


    Contact one of Miller, Miller & Canby’s eminent domain attorneys if your business or property is affected by the proposed Purple Line in order to understand and protect your property rights.

    The Purple Line and You; Part III: Aquisition of Property

     

    This is a three-part series written by Miller, Miller & Canby Eminent Domain Attorneys discussing Purple Line and how it may impact residents in its path.

    Do I have to accept what is offered to me?

    No.  You have a right to be justly compensated. You do not have to accept what the condemning authority initially offers to you.  There is often disagreement as to what constitutes just compensation in any given case.  If you cannot reach agreement with the State regarding what that amount is, you have the right to a jury trial to determine the amount.  If the issue does reach trial, both sides will present evidence—in the form of expert testimony and appraisals, for example—to demonstrate what they believe to be just compensation.  The jury then makes a decision based upon that evidence.
     
    Can I prevent my property from being taken?

    There are very limited grounds for preventing the condemnation of property from going forward, which has been determined by an appropriate government authority to be necessary for a public project,. The courts will not second guess the governmental decision in that regard.  But the courts will ensure that this decision be made lawfully.    

    When might I hear more about potential acquisition of property for the Purple Line?

    Governor O’Malley announced the earmark of funds towards the design, construction, and land acquisition for the Purple Line on August 5, 2013.  It is expected that the government will begin the process of acquiring property rights as soon as the federal government issues its Record of Decision, which may occur as early as next month.

    Before any condemnation action is filed against you, you will receive notice and an opportunity to negotiate with the condemning authority as to the amount of just compensation to which you are entitled.

    It is important to stay abreast of the project and consult with experienced eminent domain counsel if you have any questions concerning whether any of your property will be taken for the project and, if so, how you may ensure that you receive full just compensation for any property rights taken.  

    For additional information on property rights and to view an Owner’s Handbook: The Condemnation Process and Just Compensation in the State Courts of Maryland click here.  You may also review the Maryland Department of Transportation’s website for Purple Line project updates and funding schedule.

    For more information about eminent domain cases, visit the eminent domain section of this website or contact  Joe Suntum.

    The Purple Line and You; Part II: Eminent Domain

     

    This is a three-part series written by Miller, Miller & Canby Eminent Domain Attorneys discussing Purple Line and how it may impact residents in its path.

    What is eminent domain?

    “Eminent domain” is the inherent power of a governmental entity to take privately-owned property for a public use.  It is generally achieved through the act of condemnation.  Both the federal and Maryland State constitutions require that property owners be paid “just compensation” for their property, which means the “full monetary equivalent” for the property that is taken.  The purpose in paying just compensation is to make the property owner whole.

    How much private property may be taken from a property owner for the Purple Line?

    Owners of property in the path of the Purple Line may be subject to having all or part of their property taken, and it may be taken permanently or temporarily.  View proposed Purple Line in your neighborhood.  If all of your property is taken for the Purple Line, you will be entitled to be paid the full “fair market value” of your property.  This is defined as the price a willing buyer would pay and a willing seller would accept, as of the valuation date, for the “highest and best use” of the property.  The determination of what constitutes the fair market value of your property is often a matter of dispute and if agreement cannot be reached between the owner and the State, the owner is entitled to a jury trial to determine the amount of Just Compensation to be paid.  In some cases, a property owner may be entitled to relocation assistance, which can include moving expenses, utility reconnection expenses, and even a payment to assist in the purchase of a comparable home.

    Alternatively, it is possible that the State will only need to take a portion of a property-owner’s land for the Purple Line.  If that occurs, you will be entitled to be reimbursed for the value of the land taken, and any damages caused to the remainder of the land that the property owner still owns.  Consider, as an example, a case in which portion of a property owner’s front yard is taken, which includes the loss of buffering trees and landscaping.  In such a case, the value of the remaining property may be diminished as a result of the taking and that loss would be compensable.

    Finally, the State authority may need less than all of your rights in the property, or it may only need your property temporarily during construction.  In those cases, the State will condemn an easement over your property—either temporarily or permanently—depending on the need. The State must pay full Just Compensation for the value of any property rights so taken.

    The governmental acquisition of property will be discussed in more detail in part III of this series.

    For additional information on property rights and to view an Owner’s Handbook: The Condemnation Process and Just Compensation in the State Courts of Maryland click here.

    For more information about eminent domain cases, visit the eminent domain section of this website or contact Joe Suntum.

    The Purple Line and You; Part I

     

    This is a three-part series written by Miller, Miller & Canby Eminent Domain Attorneys discussing Purple Line and how it may impact residents in its path.

    You’ve probably heard, by now, about the Purple Line.  It is a 16-mile transit line that will extend from New Carrolton to Bethesda, tracing the inner circle of Route 495 through Prince Georges and Montgomery Counties, connecting the Metro Red Line and providing public transportation access to MARC, Amtrak, and bus lines.  While the project has been in the works for years, Governor O’Malley recently announced that the State has earmarked substantial funds towards design, construction and land acquisition for the Purple Line.  The project is one of the State’s highest priority transportation projects. 

    How might the Purple Line impact you?

    Of course, to most people, the Purple Line will mean more-accessible public transportation throughout the area.  That is, after all, the purpose of it.  As with many transportation projects, however, the authorities will need to acquire land upon which it will be constructed.  Some of that construction may occur on existing roadways and State-owned right-of-way, but some of it will also occur over existing privately-owned residential and commercial property.  This means that some property owners will lose part or all of their private property to this public project.  View proposed Purple Line in your neighborhood.  It is expected that the government may begin acquiring property for the Purple Line as early as this fall—even before the complete project is funded. The acquisition of property for the Purple Line is possible through the exercise of the government’s power of “eminent domain.”

    The governmental power of “Eminent Domain” will be discussed in more detail in Part II of this series.

    For additional information on property rights and to view an Owner’s Handbook: The Condemnation Process and Just Compensation in the State Courts of Maryland click here.

    For more information about eminent domain cases, visit the eminent domain section of this website or contact Joe Suntum.

    The Washington Post Reports Purple Line Plans Soon Could Displace Businesses, Residents

     

    Construction of a light-rail Purple Line through the Maryland suburbs is at least two years away.  However, Maryland Transit Administration may begin buying land in Silver Spring as early as September, when the state expects a Purple Line to receive federal environmental approval. 

    Read the entire Washington Post article published on July 7.  
     
    Contact one of Miller, Miller & Canby’s eminent domain attorneys if your business or property is affected by the proposed Purple Line in order to understand and protect your property rights.

    Miller, Miller & Canby and OCA Announce Jim Thompson as 2013 Eminent Domain Lawyer of the Year

     

    Jim Thompson's selection as 2013 Lawyer of the Year in Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law was announced by Miller, Miller & Canby and the Owners' Counsel of America (OCA) today. Mr. Thompson has represented Maryland in the OCA, a national network of property rights attorneys. The Lawyer of the Year recognition is given by The Best Lawyers in America, the oldest lawyer-rating publication in the U.S. Only a single lawyer in each practice area and designated metropolitan community is honored as Lawyer of the Year, making this designation particularly significant. A copy of the press release announcing Mr. Thompson's selection may be found by clicking on Download Attachment below.

  • Download attachment >>
  • Joe Suntum Selected to Represent Maryland for Owners' Counsel of America

     

    Joe Suntum has been selected as the Maryland representative of the Owners' Counsel of America, a nationwide network of experienced eminent domain and property rights attorneys dedicated to representing landowners threatened by condemnation and related property valuation litigation. Mr. Suntum succeeds his partner, James L. Thompson, who has been named as an Emeritus Member of the association.
    "It is an honor to be appointed as the Maryland Member of the Owners' Counsel of America and to follow in the footsteps of my partner, Jim Thompson," said Mr. Suntum. A copy of the press release announcing Mr. Suntum's appointment may be found by clicking on Download Attachment at the end of this article.
    While a major focus of his practice is the representation of Maryland and D.C. property owners in eminent domain litigation, Mr. Suntum also practices in the areas of real estate litigation, complex business litigation, and appellate advocacy. He is among the few exceptional trial lawyers who have successfully tried both murder cases and multi-million dollar civil actions. 
    Miller, Miller & Canby recently launched a new web page related specifically to condemnation and eminent domain issues in Maryland:  www.marylandeminentdomain.com.

  • Download attachment >>
  • Joe Suntum Featured in March Issue of The Practical Real Estate Lawyer

     

    As part of the American Law Institute's Continuing Legal Education, Joe Suntum recently participated in a program geared to preparation and presentation of eminent domain cases. The program, titled "Condemnation 101: How to Prepare and Present an Eminent Domain Case," was held this past January in Miami and was open to attorneys and legal practitioners, property owner representatives, and appraisers who work within the condemnation process. Mr. Suntum and his co-presenter, attorney Brandee Caswell, spoke specifically to procedural and strategic issues involving opening statements.  This program on opening statements was also summarized in an article for the March 2013 issue of The Practical Real Estate Lawyer.  To read the article in its entirety, click on Download Attachment at the end of this entry.
    Joe Suntum is a principal with Miller, Miller & Canby and focuses his practice in the areas of Eminent Domain, Real Estate Litigation, Appeals and Complex Commercial Litigation. For more information about eminent domain cases, visit the eminent domain section of this website or contact  Joe Suntum.

  • Download attachment >>
  • Joe Suntum Joins Esteemed ALI CLE as Lecturer and Panelist

     

    Condemnation 101:  How to Prepare and Present an Eminent Domain Case

    As part of the American Law Institute's Continuing Legal Education, Joe Suntum participated in a program geared to preparation and presentation of eminent domain cases. The program, titled "Condemnation 101:  How to Prepare and Present an Eminent Domain Case," was held January 24-26 in Miami, and was open to attorneys and legal practitioners, property owner representatives, and appraisers who work within the condemnation process. Mr. Suntum and his co-presenter, attorney Brandee Caswell, spoke specifically to procedural and strategic issues involving opening statements.  He also participated with fellow eminent domain counsel on a panel discussing closing arguments. Mr. Suntum regularly teaches topics at this ALI CLE course, which draws eminent domain attorneys and related professionals from across the country.  A complete copy of the paper on Opening Statements may be found by clicking on "Download Attachment" at the end of this entry.  A copy of the course brochure and further information may be found here.  

    Joe Suntum is a principal with Miller, Miller & Canby and focuses his practice in the areas of Eminent Domain, Real Estate Litigation, Appeals, and Complex Commercial Litigation. For more information about eminent domain cases, contact  Joe Suntum.

  • Download attachment >>
  • Jim Thompson Recognized by Best Lawyers as Eminent Domain "Lawyer of the Year"

     

    Miller, Miller & Canby's Jim Thompson has been recognized by Best Lawyers as 2012 "Lawyer of the Year" for the Washington Metropolitan area in the practice area of eminent domain and condemnation law.  Only a single lawyer in each geographic area and designated practice area is honored as Lawyer of the Year, which makes this accolade particularly significant. 

    Jim Thompson has been a leader in Miller, Miller & Canby's litigation practice for more than 25 years. He concentrates his practice in eminent domain and real estate valuation litigation, in addition to civil litigation involving complex real estate and business/commercial disputes. For more information on Miller, Miller & Canby's litigation practice contact  James Thompson or practice group leader  Joe Suntum.

    Eminent Domain: What Property Owners Should Know About The Process

     

    The laws governing eminent domain and the process of condemnation are very complex. From the preliminary identification of a public need and the property selected to be acquired to the final settlement, Miller, Miller & Canby eminent domain attorneys Amy Grasso and Jim Thompson outline the stages of the process in "The Stages of Maryland Eminent Domain Cases," available for review by clicking on Download Attachment at the end of this entry.

    Any property owner notified of the potential taking of his/her property should consult with an attorney experienced in eminent domain. For more information about the eminent domain process and the rights of property owners, contact one of Miller, Miller & Canby's top rated eminent domain specialists:  James Thompson or Joe Suntum.

  • Download attachment >>