What to do if you get an eminent domain letter?


If you receive a letter that a government entity wants to take all or a part of your property using eminent domain, call Attorney Tom Callan in Orlando at 877-426-9141.


Attorney Tom Olsen: I'd like to introduce you to Attorney Tom Callan of the Callan Law Firm in Orlando. He's been a lawyer in Orlando for 30 years. He specializes in eminent domain law. Hey, Tom, welcome to the show.

Attorney Tom Callan: Hey, Tom, how are you? Beautiful day today.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Thank you, I agree. Hey, Tom, I had a caller that got the letter from the state that said that they were thinking about taking a portion of his property for a road-widening project. He wants to know what he should do. What do you recommend?

Attorney Tom Callan: First, remember that you only get one chance to get the compensation and work out the deal. You don't get the multiple payments over a period of time. If mistakes are made, they don't come back later on for more money or more adjustment. So I recommend they do, first, try to figure out what they own and what they want from what they own. Secondly, look at what the government's going to do with that acquisition from you. Third, see what impact, what the government's going to do that could affect your other property. Fourth would be if you have a business, make sure that the acquisition by the government doesn't affect your business on the remaining property.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Hey, Tom, when people get these letters, sometimes a letter state that we may take a piece of your property. It's really unknown at that moment in time. Even if it's unsure whether the government is going to take a piece of their property, would they still check in with an eminent domain attorney like you?

Attorney Tom Callan: Yes. The reason why you want to do that is you want to make sure that you don't take some action between that letter when they actually come to you that could diminish your compensation. You want a lawyer to look over your leases. You want a lawyer look over your easements. You want to sit down and see if you have any title issues. If your legal description is a good legal description as compared to let's say, the government's existing right away, you avoid a lot of problems down the road when that happens. You maximize your award.

Attorney Tom Olsen: The good news is an eminent domain case has state that whatever government entity is taking your property has to pay your attorney's fees.

Attorney Tom Callan: Yes, that's a sort of law is very good about that. For the law wants the landowner to be on equal footing with the government. They want the landowner to be able to hire an attorney, hire an appraiser so that they can test the government's offer and they can test what the government says it is or not going to do.

I'll give you an example Tom. Recently, we had a case where they only move the driveway eight feet into my client's gas station site, but by doing that it cut off half the gas pumps. The reality was that my client's business was going to fail. We convinced the government that we need to move the driveway over. Moving that driveway over is very complicated and very expensive. For just that mere eight feet coming into the driveway into a site result in the government agreeing to a cure that's worth about $250,000.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Wow.

Attorney Tom Callan: Those are the kinds of little minor details that a good attorney can uncover and work with the landowner as well as the government in resolving that problem.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Hey, Tom, what's the project going on in Central Florida that's creating a lot of eminent domain cases?

Attorney Tom Callan: We've been having Wekiva Parkway. It's now coming to a tail end there with regard to Orange County segment. DOT is now acquiring all the properties in Seminole County. They're going to start with Lake County portion here shortly. There's also the I-4 project that exists in Osceola County that DOT is moving forward with. There's a couple of projects out east, which is out by the extension of the 408 they're talking about, the extensive 520. That's getting within the design stage right now between the turnpike and the expressway.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Hey, Tom, tell the listeners how they can reach you at your office.

Attorney Tom Callan: My phone number is (407) 426-9141.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Thank you, we appreciate it. That's Attorney Tom Callan from the Callan Law Firm right here in Orlando. You're welcome to reach out to him next week or you can always contact us and we'll put you in touch with Attorney Tom Callan. Thank you Tom, we appreciate it.