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Condemnation & Eminent Domain

Vinson & Elkins’ Condemnation practice has successfully represented property owners and governmental entities in state and federal eminent domain cases for 62 years. Experienced in every type of condemnation dispute, our lawyers help property owners achieve their objective, whether it be maximizing compensation or challenging the government’s right to take the property, at a competitive, results-based fee.

Widespread Scope

V&E has tried and won numerous precedent-setting condemnation, inverse condemnation, and regulatory takings cases in state and federal courts. These involve takings for all types of projects, including highways, rail, drainage and flood control projects, parks, schools, sports arenas, energy and utility plants, strategic petroleum reserves, electric transmission lines, telecommunications lines, and pipelines. We work to protect properties of all sizes and uses, including residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, educational, religious, and vacant land. In addition to representing property owners, we also represent entities with the power of eminent domain, including pipeline and utility companies, among others. 

Advocacy & Strategy

Our team assists clients at all stages of a condemnation case, including pre-condemnation planning, strategy, negotiations, mediations, jury trials, and appeals. Our lawyers are skilled advocates who regularly work with real estate appraisers, land planners, engineers, real estate brokers, and other land use professionals to build effective arguments and maximize the property owner’s compensation at both the trial and appellate levels.

Practice Highlights

  • Jury verdict 1,837% above State’s First Offer – Jury trial verdict in a partial takings case for the Grand Parkway equivalent to compensation sought at trial for owner of a 600+ acre residential development in Harris County, Texas. This is believed to be the largest jury verdict for a property owner in a condemnation case ever in the state of Texas (The Texas Lawbook, February 7, 2018). The State has filed an appeal. (trial counsel, monetary damages)
  • 2018 Jury verdict 1,005% above County’s First Offer – Lead counsel in a jury trial for a partial takings case for the owner of a trucking facility in Houston, Texas, a part of which was condemned for Harris County’s Hardy Toll Road Extension Project. The trial resulted in a net recovery to the client of $1.6 million on an original offer of $177,000. Harris County voluntarily dismissed its appeal. (Houston Condemnation Case – trial counsel, monetary damages)
  • Jury verdict 292% above State’s First Offer – Jury trial verdict in a partial takings case for the Grand Parkway for the owner of retail pad sites in front of a big-box shopping center in Montgomery County, Texas in an amount 292% above the State’s first offer (trial counsel, monetary damages). The State appealed and then dismissed its appeal
  • 2016 Jury verdict resulting in 283% increase in Compensation to Client – Lead counsel in a jury trial resulting in a judgment for the owner of a large grocery company related to the condemnation by the State of a part of its retail development for the construction of the Grand Parkway in Montgomery County, Texas. The trial resulted in a net recovery to the client of $4.6 million on an original offer of $1.2 million (Montgomery County Condemnation Case – trial counsel, monetary damages)
  • Combined Jury verdicts 292% above State’s Combined First Offer – Combined jury trial verdicts for 100% of the compensation sought in single consolidated trial involving two commercial reserve parcels owned by the same entity taken for the Grand Parkway in Harris County, Texas; the Judgment was affirmed by the Houston 1st Court of Appeals in State v. Gleannloch Commercial Development, LP, 2018 WL 4134926 (Tex.App.—Houston [1st Dist.] Aug. 30, 2018, pet. filed). (Houston Condemnation Case – trial counsel, monetary damages)
  • 2015 Jury verdict 367% above State’s Compensation Estimate – Jury trial verdict 40% above compensation estimate at trial by owner of commercial reserves taken for the Grand Parkway in Harris County, Texas, and 367% above State’s first offer; the Judgment was affirmed by the Houston 14th Court of Appeals in State v. Gleannloch Commercial Development, LP, 2017 WL 6559745 (Tex.App.—Houston [14th Dist.] Mar. 8, 2018, pet. filed). (Houston Condemnation Case – trial counsel, monetary damages)
  • Jury verdict resulting in 170% increase in Compensation to Client – Jury trial verdict equivalent to compensation sought by property owners at trial for the taking of a 42-acre tract for a detention pond in Harris County, resulting in a net recovery to clients of $8.85 million, when condemning authority’s first offer was $3.28 million. The verdict was affirmed by the Houston Fourteenth Court of Appeals and the County’s petition for review to the Texas Supreme Court was denied. (Deer Park Condemnation Case - trial counsel, monetary damages) 
  • Settlement for a major fast food restaurant owner against the state, resulting in net recovery of $1.4 million with no offer of compensation by the State (settlement counsel, monetary damages)
  • Settlement for a property owner in a partial taking by the state to widen West Loop 610 North, resulting in a net recovery of $1.9 million on an original offer of zero (Houston Condemnation Case - settlement counsel, monetary damages) 
  • Settlement for a mall owner in a consolidated case following the partial taking by the state to widen U.S. 290, resulting in a net recovery of $21.7 million, on an original offer of $1 million (settlement counsel, monetary damages)
  • Settlement for a major chain department store owner in a consolidated case following the partial taking by the State to widen U.S. 290, resulting in a net recovery of $23.4 million on an original offer of $8.2 million (settlement counsel, monetary damages)
  • Settlement for a property owner in a whole taking by the state to widen West Loop 610 North, resulting in a net recovery of $12.4 million on an original offer of $7.3 million (settlement counsel, monetary damages)
  • Settlement for a property owner in a whole taking by the state to widen West Loop 610 North, resulting in a net recovery of $7.5 million on an original offer of $5.4 million (Houston Condemnation Case - settlement counsel, monetary damages) 
  • Jury verdict 186% above the State's first offer – Jury trial for the owner of a shopping center in the State’s partial taking to widen the Katy Freeway, resulting in a net recovery of $8.2 million to the client on an original offer of $4.4 million (trial counsel, monetary damages). The State appealed and then dismissed its appeal
  • Jury trial for the owner of a private mini storage facility in the state’s partial taking to widen the Katy Freeway, resulting in a net recovery of $5.3 million on an original offer of $2.2 million (trial counsel, monetary damages)
  • Jury trial for the owner of an office building in the state’s taking of a strip of land and closing of a driveway, resulting in net recovery to the client of $2 million, on an original offer by the state of $90,000 (trial counsel, monetary damages)
  • Jury verdict 300% above the State's first offer – Jury trial for ranch owners for taking of a dune preserve for expansion of the Guadalupe Mountains National Park by U.S. Department of Interior, resulting in a net recovery to the client of $900,000, on an original offer of $300,000 (trial counsel, monetary damages)
  • Bench trial for a fast food owner in partial taking, resulting in a net recovery to the client of more than $1 million, on an original offer by the state of $140,000
  • Settlement for a property owner operating grocery store in a partial taking case, resulting in a net recovery to the client of $4.25 million, with no offer of compensation by State (settlement counsel, monetary damages)
  • Settlement for a property owner operating a private school in a partial taking case, resulting in a net recovery to the client of $3.8 million on the State’s original offer of $700,000 (settlement counsel, monetary damages)
  • Settlement for a property owner against a pipeline company, after a temporary injunction hearing, resulting in a net recovery to the client of $2 million, with no offer of compensation by the pipeline company (settlement counsel, monetary damages)
  • Settlement for the owner of an automobile dealership for taking of a strip of land by the State, resulting in a net recovery to the client of $1 million, on an original offer of $105,000 (settlement counsel, monetary damages)