Kraemer Burns has a long history of representing both property owners and governmental entities in eminent domain (condemnation) proceedings. It all started representing the Garden State Parkway at its inception, handling or supervising the acquisition of the many hundreds of parcels needed for the right of way. Among our higher profile cases are the following:
- Representing the owners of the huge "Wherry" housing rental projects at Ft. Dix and Ft. Monmouth originally built on private land within military bases and thereafter acquired by the United States. These cases were unusually complicated because the "Wherry" projects were rent regulated by the military. In addition "Wherry" projects were bought and sold in a national market, thus permitting the use of comparable sales from anywhere in the U.S. The settlements reached at the eve of the two trials were sufficiently large that the United States Attorney General was required to sign off on them.
- In connection with the construction of Interstate 280, Kraemer Burns represented almost every property owner from the easterly bottom of First Mountain to the top and then then again down to the westerly bottom. This included the owners of large estates within Llewellyn Park as well as the owners of the Essex Green Shopping Center. Many of the parcels were zoned for large lot residential development. We successfully argued that there was a reasonable probability of a change in zoning to a more intense use, thereby substantially increasing value.
- Kraemer Burns represented the owner of the sole parcel of land that New Jersey acquired to build the Menlo Park Railway Station. Though not complex, the case involved substantial sums.
- Kraemer Burns represented Jersey City Medical Center in connection with the acquisition of the land needed to build its new hospital. The property owner argued that the land should be valued like land near the Hudson River and, on behalf of our client, we argued that the property should be valued as land remote from the Hudson. At the Commissions' hearing we prevailed and the case was thereafter settled on terms advantageous to our client.
- Kraemer Burns represented the owner of an entire city block in Newark (formerly the site of the Coca Cola Bottling Plant) in connection with its acquisition for the building of a public school. The case involved substantial sums.
Kraemer Burns represents developers of Urban Renewal Projects and in connection with the entire representation becomes involved with the eminent domain proceedings requisite to the acquisition of the project site.
The firm's trial lawyers are experienced in litigating other types of valuation cases and these skills carry over into eminent domain. For example, the firm has an active real estate tax appeal practice (see that section our web site) as well as experience in litigating the valuation of public corporations in the context of mergers.
In addition to having good trial skills, an eminent domain lawyer must know what appraiser to select for a particular case and how that appraiser will relate to the jury. We almost always use appraisers who are members of the Appraisal Institute (MAIs) and have either examined or cross-examined many of them. Our lawyers believe they have sufficient experience to select the right MAI for the particular case.
Kraemer Burns usually handles eminent domain proceeding on an hourly basis, but if requested to do so by a property owner, will consider doing so on a contingency based on a percentage over the condemning authorities initial offer.