Condemnation or Eminent Domain

Eminent domain is the power of the state or federal government—or companies acting under governmental authority—to force individuals or entities to sell their private property for public use. The process is known as “condemnation.”

As Texas’s population continues to grow, the need to build or improve basic infrastructure—such as highways, rail lines, electric lines, gas pipelines, power plants, and public buildings—will increase. Often these public projects require building on privately owned land. Both the United States and Texas Constitutions guarantee “just” and “adequate” compensation for property owners, but condemners usually have a low opinion of what’s fair. Further, complex procedures and the special substantive law applicable in condemnation cases make it difficult for landowners to obtain what they are due.

Our lawyers have been involved in some of the largest landowner recoveries in Texas history. And several on our team have received “Rising Star” designations for their success in eminent-domain cases. Whether you are looking to negotiate a favorable settlement, obtain a large verdict, or keep a jury award on appeal, our attorneys understand how to give you the best chance to receive truly adequate compensation for property taken in condemnation.

Representative Cases

Peregrine Pipeline Company, L.P. v. Eagle Ford Land Partners, L.P..

No. E200700046, In the County Court at Law No. 2, Johnson County, Texas (2014):

JMEH partners Luke Ellis and Justin Hodge represented a landowner in a jury trial over the disputed value of a pipeline easement. The Plaintiff pipeline company had offered $80,000. After a week-long trial, the jury returned a verdict of $1.66 million in the landowner’s favor.

State of Texas v. 7KX Investments,

No. 03-10-0069, In the Third District Court of Appeals, Austin, Texas (2011):

Luke Ellis, Justin Hodge, and Chris Johns coauthored the successful summary-judgment response at trial, and Chris Johns cowrote the merits brief on appeal in an important groundwater-rights case, which settled just days before oral argument for $5.5 million (just $300,000 less than the jury verdict).

Luke Ellis regularly serves as lead counsel for a Fortune 50 retail operation in road-project cases against the State of Texas.

Luke Ellis, Justin Hodge, and Sumer Shelton have represented—and continue to represent—scores of landowners in condemnation proceedings involving TxDOT’s widening of IH-35.

Justin Hodge represented a Fort Worth company whose headquarters was taken for the Southwest Parkway project, reaching a seven-figure settlement before trial.

Luke Ellis, Justin Hodge, and Sumer Shelton have conducted numerous jury trials, special commissioners’ hearings, and expert and fact-witness depositions in eminent-domain cases.

Luke Ellis, Justin Hodge, and Sumer Shelton have represented multiple landowners against the State of Texas on TxDOT’s SH-130 project (segments 5 & 6).

Luke Ellis and Justin Hodge represented landowners impacted by TxDOT’s widening of SH-121 in Denton County, Texas.

Luke Ellis and Justin Hodge have represented landowners affected by a SH-45-SE tollway project.

Luke Ellis and Justin Hodge represented Dallas County property owners facing condemnation of their land for TxDOT’s widening of IH-635 and the expansion of US Highway 183.

Luke Ellis and Justin Hodge represented multiple landowners in Johnson, Ellis, and Tarrant Counties in relation to a gas-pipeline project.

Luke Ellis and Justin Hodge represented central Texas landowners whose property was condemned for a water-pipeline project.

Luke Ellis, Justin Hodge, and Sumer Shelton have represented—and continue to represent—Texas landowners facing condemnation proceedings for electric-transmission lines.

In a jury trial in Houston, Justin Hodge represented a hedge fund against a taking of a country club in Clear Lake, Texas by a local governmental authority, resulting in a finding that the condemning authority’s action in deciding to take the property was arbitrary, capricious, and fraudulent. The case is currently on appeal.

Justin Hodge served on several trial teams representing property owners in condemnation cases against TxDOT in its widening of IH-10 in Harris County, Texas.

Justin Hodge represented property owners against the Houston Metropolitan Transit Authority’s expansion of METRO rail lines.