SERVING ALL OF GEORGIAPROPERTY RIGHTS IN
THE STATE OF GEORIGA

GEORGIA'S EMINENT DOMAIN LAWS AND PROPERTY RIGHTS

SERVING ALL OF GEORGIASIGNIFICANT REPRESENTATIONS AND REPORTED DECISIONS

EMINENT DOMAIN AND PROPERTY RIGHTS

SERVING ALL OF GEORGIACHARLES L. RUFFIN

EMINENT DOMAIN ATTORNEY
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EMINENT DOMAIN AND PROPERTY RIGHTSSIGNIFICANT REPRESENTATIONS
AND REPORTED DECISIONS

  • Advised Atlanta-area church in negotiations with municipality that resulted in cancellation of  plans to condemn five acres of property worth more than $5,000,000.
  • Advised industrial property owner in pre-condemnation negotiations with Atlanta-area  municipality that resulted in settlement of $9,000,000.
  • Representation of rural church in Dublin, Georgia in jury trial that resulted in judgment of $1,500,000 for  client.
  • Representation of Atlanta-area auto repair franchise that resulted in $1.15 million judgment for client for  damage to its business.
  • Representation of New York-based property owner in negotiations with City of Sandy Springs that resulted  in settlement of $7,000,000 for taking of a commercial parcel for use in a city center project.
  • Settled a case in central Georgia that involved an interference with parking area for and access to a general  commercial/retail building and further development on the site. The settlement was for an amount 280  percent higher than sums paid into court by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT).
  • Negotiated a $1.1 million settlement of a condemnation case on the eve of a 4-day jury trial. The case  concerned an undeveloped commercial outparcel along I-85 in southwest metro Atlanta and involved  complicated historical issues.
  • Obtained a jury award of $1.03 million in southwest metro Atlanta. The verdict was 730 percent higher  than sums paid into court by GDOT.
  • Obtained a jury verdict against GDOT in a case involving a recreational lake-oriented convenience store  in central Georgia. The verdict resulted in an award of $1.22 million to the client, a gasoline and oil  jobber, a sum 289 percent higher than that paid into court by GDOT on commencement of the litigation.
  • Tried a jury trial involving damage to access to hotel property in central Georgia. Jury award resulted in a  recovery 400 percent higher than the compensation offered by GDOT.
  • Settled major condemnation for national trucking firm in Savannah. Settlement involved substantial plan  revisions avoiding taking of office building and land locking of property. In addition, funds of $1.5 million  were paid for property taken and for consequential damages and mitigation expense.
  • Settled taking of portion of major shopping center in north metro Atlanta. Settlement involved cash of $4.5  million and plan revisions to mitigate damage to center.
  • Tried a business loss and real estate condemnation case in west Georgia. After a nine-day trial, obtained a  jury verdict resulting in a recovery of $1.9 million dollars, which represented a 100 percent increase over  sums paid into court by GDOT. The case involved a taking of property from and damage to a warehouse  distribution company.
  • Negotiated for national retailer a relocation of a power transmission line, thus avoiding major disruptions  to operations.
  • Settled a case in Augusta, Georgia for $2 million dollars which involved a real estate-only taking of a  lessor/nationally traded REIT’s interest in a casual dining concept restaurant. Settlement was 100 percent  higher than the GDOT offer at mediation.
  • Obtained jury award after jury trial for mineral bearing property located in central Georgia that was 54  times higher than the GDOT pay-in to court resulting in a judgment after interest of a sum 80 times higher  than the original payment to the Clerk of Court.
  • Settled condemnation for taking of right-of-way for access road constructed for new automobile assembly  plant in west Georgia. Settlement was for $1.3 million dollars which was a 228 percent increase over the  GDOT pay-in to court.
  • Negotiated cessation of intent to condemn northwest Georgia mountain property for upgrade of county  emergency communication system. Success was based on a theory of prior dedication to a public use, that  being a conservation easement.
  • Settled an eminent domain matter on behalf of a fast food restaurant corporation involving a metro Atlanta  property. The location involved a corner interstate site in Clayton County. GDOT condemned the principal  access to the site thus causing substantial damage to the value of the property. GDOT paid $2.3 million  pursuant to the consent judgment obtained to conclude the settlement. That sum represented a 200 percent  increase over the original sum offered by GDOT.
  • Settled a case involving mitigation and relocation costs for an Interstate 75 retail specialty and gasoline  dispensary location. The settlement of $1,427,500 represented an increase of 60 percent over the GDOT  pay-in to the court. The relocation and mitigation costs salvaged a business valued at $5.1 million.
  • Successfully tried to jury verdict a business loss claim by a major fast food franchisee in central Georgia  resulting from a total taking of the franchised site. The judgment was 320 percent higher than sums  originally paid into court by GDOT.
  • Successfully defended an Atlanta-based partnership that operates a 7,000-acre farming and quail hunting  preserve in central Georgia against a private taking of land by an adjoining landowner.
  • Settled a condemnation action of a largely abandoned shopping center in Valdosta, GA. The settlement  included $5.62 million in compensation while the client retained ownership of eight acres of in-line space.  The property was taken for a city-planned arts complex.

Photo: Sworn in as 51st President of the State Bar of Georgia.

MEET ATTORNEYCHARLES L. RUFFIN

Charles L. Ruffin is a seasoned trial lawyer with an award-winning eminent domain practice that has included representation of a wide variety of national and international businesses such as real estate investment trusts, fast food franchisors and franchisees, hotel investors, commercial and residential real estate developers, convenience store chains, national drug store chains, and oil and gas businesses.

Property Rights in the State of GeorgiaGEORGIA EMINENT DOMAIN
LAWS AND RIGHTS

Georgia’s property owner’s protections begin with its Constitution, which states that property cannot be taken by a governmental authority without payment of compensation. In 2006, as part of the national response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Kelo v. City of New London, the Georgia General Assembly dramatically expanded the rights of property owners by passing the Landowner’s Bill of Rights.

This legislation limited the definition of public purpose and ensured that condemnations for redevelopment must be for public use. Furthermore, the public purpose, which is the basis of any condemnation, must begin within five years of the date of taking, thus limiting the ability of a condemnor to take advantage of low market prices to create “land banks.” Georgia property owners are also protected in the pre- condemnation negotiation process by laws requiring condemnors to disclose the reasoning behind their offers to purchase property. While Georgia property owners enjoy many rights not available in some other states, they are not entitled to attorneys fees in most condemnation cases, and thus the prohibitive costs of litigation limits their ability to seek full compensation in many instances.

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    Mailing: PO Box 52567, Atlanta GA 30355-6000
    Office: 2860 Piedmont Rd NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30305
    770-570-9011
    charles@charlesruffinlaw.com