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Aug 30, 2017

Eminent domain is a hot topic currently for landowners across the state.  From various planned highways, to oil and gas pipelines, to water pipeline projects, to the high speed rail, many landowners are facing the potential taking of their private property pursuant to the use of eminent domain.  

My guest today is Luke Ellis, a partner at the JMEH Law Firm in Austin.  Luke went to law school at the University of Texas and focuses his practice entirely on representing property owners negotiating easements and facing eminent domain.  He also teaches as an adjunct professor at the University of Texas College of Law.

We discuss the most common types of eminent domain cases facing landowners, which entities have eminent domain power, analyzing whether a project has eminent domain power, negotiation tips, and valuation considerations.  We also chat about hiring an attorney and how firms generally charge to represent a landowner on an eminent domain proceeding.

Not surprisingly, when asked what law he would like to see changed, Luke mentioned the fact that Texas does not allow a successful landowner in a condemnation case to recover attorney and expert fees from the condemning entity.  As Luke mentions, 20 other states have this type of provision, and it is badly needed to help make Texas landowners whole when involved in a condemnation suit.

Finally, the next time you are in Austin, Luke says you've got to check out Hula Hut on Lake Austin.  He recommends a margarita, cold beer, and Hawaiian fajitas!


Contact info for Luke Ellis




Links to topics mentioned on the show

Pipeline easement negotiation checklist

- Georgetown Texas Eminent Domain Program (September 7, 2017)

- Registration for Georgetown Program