Condemnation & Valuation

This practice is led by Jennifer A. Cranston, a recognized leader in the area of condemnation and property valuation. Jennifer’s experience representing governmental entities, developers, and private landowners enables her to anticipate tactics and arguments and provide clients with a balanced view of the issues to effectively resolve disputes.

Gallagher & Kennedy’s condemnation (aka eminent domain) and valuation practice includes acquisition and condemnation of property for public projects, inverse condemnation, landowner representation, and real estate valuation.


Under Arizona law, certain government entities have the power to acquire property and property-related rights for public purposes and projects, such as roadways, parks, utility lines, public buildings, and drainage. Entities with the right to condemn include the state, counties, cities, political subdivisions, public service corporations, and numerous special taxing districts.

We are well-versed in the state and applicable federal legal requirements necessary to exercise the power of condemnation and work with condemning entities to acquire property rights in a fair, timely, and cost-effective manner. 

Legal services and resources provided to condemning entities include:

  • Review of project design.
  • Oversight of project workflow.
  • Identification of property owners and others with compensable property interests.
  • Defense of “right to take” or other challenges to condemnation actions.
  • Assistance with obtaining prompt, consistent, and defensible appraisals.
  • Negotiation and processing of right-of-entry agreements and orders.
  • Analysis of utility prior rights issues.
  • Coordination of relocation and payment of relocation benefits.
  • Review, critique, and analysis of the opposing parties’ appraisals and valuation theories.
  • Development of litigation strategy, including organization of trial experts or consultants and assistance and advice regarding settlement.
  • Prosecution of condemnation lawsuits from initial filings through trial and appeal.


Not all condemnation cases are initiated by a government agency. Where the government has taken or infringed upon property rights without compensation as required by Arizona or federal law, the property owner may file an inverse condemnation claim against the offending agency. 

Examples of inverse takings include:

  • Physical invasion of property, such as through trespass or flooding.
  • Dedication of private property as a condition to a development permit where the dedication lacks an essential nexus with the government purpose or the dedication is not roughly proportionate to the development’s impact.
  • Enactment of zoning ordinances or other regulations that prohibit all economically beneficial use of property.
  • Interference with access to or from an adjacent highway or street.
  • Adoption of land use laws that reduce a property’s value by affecting the owner’s right to use, divide, sell, or possess the property.

We help protect our clients’ property by filing prompt notices with the necessary parties, responding to procedural notices, and identifying and evaluating potentially problematic legal or factual issues early in the representation.


The Arizona and United States Constitutions require that private property owners be paid just compensation for the taking of their property for public use. The Arizona Constitution goes further, providing just compensation when the government takes or damages private property. Just compensation is the amount of money that places the landowner in as good a position financially as he would have been in if his property had not been taken or damaged. Compensation is typically based on the fair market value of the property at the time of the taking or damage.

For property owner clients, we ensure that their private property rights are fully protected and that they are appropriately compensated under the law. We assist landowners in all stages of the condemnation process, including determining if a taking or damaging of property is legally permissible, analyzing appraisals, negotiating with the government entity for a pre-trial settlement, and, if necessary, defending our clients’ right to just compensation through trial and appeal.

Representative experience includes:

  • Represented homebuilders in separate trials against the City of Scottsdale and recovered two of the largest condemnation verdicts in Arizona history.
  • Assisted owners of raw and developed land with the defense and successful mediation of condemnation actions filed by the Arizona Department of Transportation.
  • Defended property owners and businesses in condemnation actions filed by the City of Phoenix, including Light Rail acquisitions.
  • Advised clients regarding pre-litigation settlement strategies in multiple government acquisitions throughout Arizona.


Understanding both the relevant valuation concepts and the evidentiary hurdles to proving value, our experience includes representing large land developers and private property owners in accurately assessing and realizing the fair market value of their property. 

Some of the common cases requiring an experienced real estate valuation attorney are:

  • Disputes between buyers and sellers
  • Disputes between adjacent landowners
  • Title defects and title insurance claims
  • Probate
  • Bankruptcy
  • Partnership or corporate dissolutions

Learn more about our robust real estate practice.

In addition to legal knowledge and experience, Gallagher & Kennedy brings to each condemnation and valuation case an extensive network of real estate professionals and strong working relationships with others in the industry. These assets contribute to our impressive record of achieving successful results for clients in a cost-effective and time-efficient manner.