Private property owner who inherited land


Halt unfair eminent domain action


R. Louis Crossley Jr.

The client had inherited a 20-acre tract from his parents. It was undeveloped, but the client believed it had good commercial development potential. It was located in a growing area of town, and he was making pitches to several major retailers. Then came some horrible news – the local municipality wanted to condemn it for a park. Then came even worse news – the municipality claimed the property was worth only $1 because it had been the site of a municipal garbage dump in the late 1950s, and the cost of excavating the garbage in order to achieve a productive commercial use would cost more than any development could ever recoup.

The client chose Louis Crossley to represent him because of Louis’ experience in handling eminent domain cases. Louis retained an expert in commercial real estate valuation, and experts from several other disciplines. Through the use of three-dimensional modeling from old aerial photographs, Louis was able to determine exactly where, and at what depth, garbage had been buried decades ago. Then, engineering experts were able to determine the areas of the site where buildings could be economically located. Through this array of expertise, Louis was able to build such a convincing case that the client’s property could be developed commercially at a reasonable cost that the municipality settled with the client out of court for an amount over seven hundred thousand times greater than what the municipality had first offered.