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Eminent Domain / Right of Way

Pender & Coward represents state agencies, municipalities, transit authorities, utilities, and right-of-way consultants in the acquisition of right of way and other property for infrastructure projects. We advise our clients with regard to all aspects of condemnation litigation from pre-condemnation planning for acquiring entities, to final resolution, whether through voluntary acquisition or litigation. Our top priority is to help our clients identify and eliminate issues which could drive up project costs.

Two of our attorneys hold the coveted SR/WA designation and are very active in the International Right of Way Association. We stay on top of emerging issues to help our clients address and handle challenges during every phase of project design and development including:

  • Public Use Requirements

  • Appropriations

  • Routing and siting

  • Title examinations and title services

  • Right of way agreements

  • Negotiations

  • Voluntary acquisitions

  • Uniform Relocation Act appeals and litigation

  • Eminent domain / condemnation litigation

  • Closings and distribution of funds

  • Title certifications and opinions

  • Encroachments

  • Inverse Condemnation Litigation

When engaged early in the project planning and land acquisition process, our eminent domain and right of way attorneys identify and resolve potential issues which could prove costly down the line.


  • Defeated inverse condemnation suits by over a dozen residential landowners against a regional airport involving claims that aircraft noise had increased and taken or damaged their properties.

  • Defeated a landowner’s attempt to remove a condemnation to federal court premised on alleged violations of the federal Uniform Relocation Act.

  • Defeated a landowner’s claim that a condemnation was invalid, because the landowner had waived any alleged jurisdictional defects by drawing down the funds deposited with a certificate of take and thereby acknowledged that the only remaining issue in the case was the determination of just compensation.

  • Successfully represented a condemning authority in suit for inverse condemnation brought by numerous landowners whose properties were flooded following an unprecedented storm, who claimed that a culvert under a highway was inadequate or was improperly maintained.

  • Represented a state agency in a complex federal litigation involving both admiralty and eminent domain, stemming from allegations by lessees of substantial damages to oyster grounds.

  • Had a purported direct suit under the Uniform Relocation Act dismissed with prejudice in the trial court and consulted regarding the successful defense of the ruling on appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court.

  • Obtained a dismissal with prejudice of an alleged inverse condemnation claim regarding leased oyster beds and successfully defended the ruling in the Virginia Supreme Court.