Oil and Gas Companies
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Over the years, the demand for oil production in Texas has increased tremendously. The number of pipelines necessary to carry the coveted product has resulted in a growing number of land acquisitions. Oil and gas companies often pursue easements from landowners for these projects, resulting in eminent domain or condemnation cases.
Eminent Domain is a complex legal area that allows the authority of the government to seize someone’s private property for public use. Building or expanding a road or highway, bridges, transmission lines, mass transit rails, and any construction project deemed beneficial economically to a community are examples of projects for public use. Common carriers such as pipeline companies that transport crude oil, coal, and carbon dioxide or hydrogen have eminent domain privileges, along with natural gas pipelines. Condemning authorities such as these are required to provide compensation but, in most cases, the pay isn’t just. Compensation is subjective and determined by a team of appraisers, engineers, and attorneys that have planned the taking for years. Because of that, those affected are encouraged to seek legal consultation.
Landowners are typically blindsided by the impacts of eminent domain and are often forced to uproot their lives or give up portions of their land. Anyone faced with the possibility of condemnation is highly encouraged to consult with an attorney. The Potts Law Firm’s Eminent Domain attorneys are knowledgeable and can defend your rights in these matters. The sooner you reach out to our firm, the sooner we can help you in your condemnation fight.
- Differences in the valuation of property based on the comparable sales
- Damages to the remainder
- Denial of access
- Highest and best use of the property
- Line of sight
- Different valuations for independent economic units
Agreements made with the land services company are not binding unless they are in writing and approved by the ultimate condemning authority.
It is not recommended that you represent your own eminent domain case. People that do not deal in eminent domain or condemnation matters are often mistaken on what damages they can collect and how to properly evaluate the value of their property.
Things that are not compensable for your eminent domain case:
- Noise and nuisance
- Dust and debris
- Offers to purchase the property that do not end up in a sale
- Other offers to purchase other properties in the area
- Tax valuations
- Project influence
- Future value of the property
- Business income (there are very limited exclusions to this)
- Circuity of traffic
The condemning authority will often hire an independent appraiser to evaluate your property. These appraisers often have an interest in obtaining a uniform value for all of the properties, will use older sales to justify their valuations, and can be locked into sales that are not truly comparable to your property.
You can anticipate the following:
- A request for survey letters
- Agents for the condemning authority asking permission to talk to you
- Appraisals from the condemning authority
- An initial offer letter (usually requiring you to respond within 30 days)
Typically, we advise our clients to allow for survey permission to obtain an accurate “metes and bounds” description of the property and of the taking. Clients should be wary of survey companies asking for environmental and engineering studies on the property.