Texas Eminent Domain


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Few issues evoke such strong opposition as the taking of private land through eminent domain for a public use. When it comes to eminent domain, the government is playing in their arena; they do this every day. They know what the rules are, they know how the rules affect them and they know how the rules affect you. Make sure that you become informed so that you know what you can and cannot do.
Is the government taking your land? Your initial question might be- can I stop them from taking my property? In most cases, you won’t be able to prevent the government from acquiring your land, but you are entitled to just compensation under eminent domain law. Learn more about eminent domain and what you’re entitled to receive, or continue browsing through the tabs and pages learn about the eminent domain process and laws that are specific to Texas.
Biersdorf & Associates is a nationwide eminent domain law firm that only represents property owners, never the government or condemning authority. We have several of-counsel attorneys located in Austin and Dallas who assist us on cases throughout the state. We have experience representing land owners against the Texas Department of Transportation, and we have assisted landowners where pipeline easements were acquired. Learn more about your rights in a pipeline easement case.
Our attorneys have the experience necessary to identify damages that lead to a higher amount of compensation, and we can effectively interface with the condemning authority and work the legal system to help you obtain just compensation. Also, we’re trial lawyers, so we won’t hesitate to take your case to trial if negotiations cannot be reached. Continue reading to learn more about the eminent domain process in Texas, your rights as a property owner and hiring an attorney.

Texas Eminent Domain Process

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In the state of Texas, the eminent domain process can only be stopped if the proposed taking does not meet the requirements for public purpose or public necessity. If you have determined that the proposed taking does meet these requirements, then you should learn more about the Texas eminent domain process.
Remember, even if the government has the right to condemn your property, they cannot dictate the price they are willing to pay; compensation is determined by the highest and best use laws for your property. The following page contains detailed legal information and a flow chart on the West Virginia eminent domain process.

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Texas Property Rights

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The eminent domain abuse dialogue often centers on policy issues involving the right to take property for economic development and blight. Since the landmark case of Kelo v. City of New London in 2005, many states have taken measures to help curb eminent domain abuse. Some states were very successful at passing meaningful reform, and other states failed to pass any legislation at all. Most states fall in the middle by passing legislation that looks good on paper but does little to level the playing field between property owners and the government.
The Castle Coalition, a nationwide grassroots property activism project by the Institute for Justice, released a comprehensive report in 2006 that graded each state based on eminent domain legislative changes which expand and protect property rights.
Did you know that the Castle Coalition gave Texas a B- when it comes to property owners’ protection against eminent domain? Continue reading to learn more.

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Hiring an Eminent Domain Attorney in Texas

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As you are likely aware, taking matters into your own hands when it comes to eminent domain is highly discouraged. You could ruin a good claim by attempting to negotiate with the condemning authority without knowing the full extent of your damages. Or, you could settle for much less than what you are entitled to receive. Don’t be surprised if you’re unable to assess the damages in your case; no one expects you to be an expert on land valuation in eminent domain cases. In fact, the government is counting on this.
Most eminent domain attorneys work on a contingent fee basis. With this fee structure, the attorney assumes the risk for earning a fee. Property owners are generally only responsible for paying costs, with the primary cost being the appraiser who values the property. Because of the contingent fee structure, most eminent domain attorneys will conduct a free case evaluation for property owners prior to recommending representation.
You are entitled to recover reasonable attorney fees and costs in eminent domain cases if the condemning authority abandons the proceeding, or if the court rules that the property cannot be acquired through eminent domain (Tex. Prop. 21.019(c) and 21.0195(c)).

If you’re affected by eminent domain, you should obtain a consultation so that you know and understand your rights before taking any action. Remember, the government is like any buyer, they will want to purchase your property as cheaply as possible, and their appraisers may neglect to consider damages that can lead to a larger amount of just compensation.
Very few attorneys can claim expertise in the area of eminent domain law. To determine if you have a case, make sure you consult with an eminent domain trial attorney who can effectively identify damages and select the necessary experts. Your attorney should also be able to interface with the condemning authority and be willing to take your case to trial if negotiations can not be reached. Contact us for a free case evaluation.



  • Attorney Dan Biersdorf weighs in on the MN “Buy the Farm” law with KSTP Channel 5 news. Watch the video or read the article.




    [Minneapolis, MN] – [March 4, 2014] — Attorney Dan Biersdorf has been awarded the honor of being part of the 2014 list of Super Lawyers in the sate of Minnesota. This honor is limited to no more than five percent of the attorneys in the state.

    Super Lawyers recognizes attorneys who have distinguished themselves in more than 70 practice areas. The selection process is rigorous and includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. The objective is to create a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of outstanding attorneys that can be used as a resource for attorneys and consumers searching for legal counsel. The lists are published annually in state and regional editions of Super Lawyers Magazines and in inserts and special advertising sections in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers.

    Dan Biersdorf is the lead attorney for Biersdorf & Associates. Dan attended the University Of Minnesota School Of Law where he received his Juris Doctor in 1976. After graduating and working as an assistant prosecutor for Hennepin County and a trial attorney for a corporate law firm for a number of years, Dan started Biersdorf & Associates specializing in eminent domain issues. Since the firm’s inception, Dan has focused on large eminent domain cases around the country that have redefined the law in favor of property owners.

    Super Lawyers was published in a small number of Law & Politics in 1991as a special section until it began to expand nationwide. Today, Super Lawyers Magazine is published in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., reaching more than 13 million readers. The selection process followed by Super Lawyers received a patent (U.S. Pat. No. 8,412,564) from The United States Patent and Trademark Office in April 2013, ensuring the credibility and prestige of becoming a selection for their annual list.

    Biersdorf & Associates is a nationwide eminent domain law firm that was founded in 1988 on the principle that property owner’s Fifth Amendment rights must be asserted and upheld. Biersdorf & Associates solely represents property owners in their claims against condemning authorities.




  • Biersdorf & Associates recently reached a settlement agreement with the City of New Ulm for two clients impacted by the expansion of the Municipal Airport.  Read the article:  land-deal-for-airport-expansion-approved.


  • Lead attorney Dan Biersdorf will be presenting “Regulatory Takings: The Crossroads between Land Use Regulations and Eminent Domain” at the 17th Annual Oregon Land Use Seminar taking place on December12th- 13th at the Hilton Executive Towers in Portland. The U.S. Supreme Court has long held that land use regulations (e.g. zoning ordinances) can go “too far” and cause a “taking” of property for which just compensation must be paid under the fifth amendment of the Constitution. These cases are known as “regulatory takings.” Less clear is how to establish how far is “too far.”

    Many of Oregon’s leading land use attorney’s will be presenting at the seminar, including E. Michael Connors, Hathaway Koback Connors LLP, presenting on Walmart vs the City of Hood River, and Michael Robinson, Seth King and Steven Pfeiffer from Perkins Cole LLP. Also presenting are representatives from the Cities of Medford, Pendleton, Bend and Tillamook facilitating a panel discussion “Land Use Issues for City Planning Directors”, and many more. Expect a few heated discussions with varied opinions from Oregon’s leading land use experts.


  • The Daily Star of Oneonta, NY covered the public hearing facilitated by Dan Biersdorf of Biersdorf & Associates and Jon Santemma of Farrell Fritz for property owners impacted by the Constitution Pipeline project. Also speaking at the meeting was Anne Marie Garti, one of organizers of the grassroots opposition group Stop the Pipeline.  Biersdorf stated in one quote, “You’re better off not taking the offer and using the eminent domain process to maximize your claim,” Biersdorf told The Daily Star. He pointed out that, under New York law, the landowners can also seek to recover all costs and fees associated with the eminent domain action.”

    Read the article, “Landowners, lawyers meet over pipeline”, or download a copy here.



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