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How We Help


At White & Stradley, LLP, we're with you every step of the way. We are available to consult with you early in the process even before you are contacted by the condemnor. We can advise you on what to say and what not to say to the condemnor's representative in order to protect your right to full and fair compensation.

We document the condition of your property prior to the taking. This is important because the compensation you receive may depend on the difference between the value of the property prior to the taking and its post-taking value. Thus, it is extremely important to document the condition and thus the value of your property before the taking. The documentation needed depends on the nature of the taking. Ordinarily, we will get photos of your property from the ground and from the air. In some circumstances, other pre-taking documentation, such as surveys are needed.

Once you receive an offer for your property, we can help you evaluate whether the offer is fair. Ordinarily, the offer will be very low.


If the offer is not fair, we will prepare for the litigation process. If you decline the offer, the condemnor will file a lawsuit and deposit a sum of money with the clerk of court. This money, called the deposit, represents the condemnor's estimate of just compensation for the property taken. Unless you contest the condemnor's authority to take your property (which you usually cannot do), you are entitled to the deposit and you can still contest the amount of compensation to which you are entitled. We will ensure that the appropriate legal technicalities are met so that you can get the deposit and still contest the amount of compensation due.

We will also file an Answer to the lawsuit on your behalf. This is a formal document which informs the condemnor that you intend to contest the amount of compensation due to you.

Several months after the Answer is filed, the condemnor must file a plat or map with the court which shows the exact amount of property taken. We will review this map and ensure that it shows all the land which will be taken. This is important because you are only entitled to compensation for the land shown on the plat as being taken. If the plat does not accurately reflect the land which is being taken, we will ask the court to modify the plat to show the true extent of the taking.


Prior to trial, both sides (you and the condemnor) are required to participate in a mediated settlement conference or mediation. During the mediation, a trained mediator will try to assist us in coming to an agreement with the condemnor on fair compensation. If we reach an agreement, the other side pays the money and the case is over. If we do not agree, the case proceeds to trial.

Expert evaluation

As we prepare for trial, we will have one or more trained appraisers evaluate your property in order to provide an opinion on the value of the land taken. Depending on the size and type of land taken, we may also have the land evaluated by a land planner, an engineer, a real estate broker or a real estate investor. These professionals will testify at trial about the fair value at the highest and best use of your property.

Ordinarily, trial will not occur until after the project for which your land is taken has been completed. This is because the measure of compensation is the difference between the value of the property before the taking and its value after the taking. In many circumstances, the post-taking value cannot be fully determined until the project is complete. However, remember that you will already have the deposit. So, while the process may take time, you will have some money in hand in the meantime. The property owner generally has the option to proceed to trial without awaiting the completion of the project; however, doing so runs the risk that the project may not turn out as the condemnor says it will, and so the owner may be undercompensated.


Trial will ordinarily take less than a week, and at least one of the property owners should plan to attend the entire trial. At trial, the experts who have evaluated the property will testify and be cross-examined by the condemnor. The condemnor's paid witnesses will testify, and we will cross-examine them. Following instructions from the judge, the jury will deliberate about the amount of compensation due and return its unanimous verdict.

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