PM Eminent Domain

…”nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation “.  The Bill of Rights, article 5 states just how important if not crucial a Taking of property is in the United States.  Condemnation is one component in the foundation that formed the frame work of our constitution. Property is taken in a courtroom setting.  Everyone involved has representation.  All are heard.  This is the deep end of seriousness.  Now and then the Taking is stopped.  But rarely.  So, the matter boils down to just compensation.  It’s about the attempt of both sides, the condenée and the condemner, to arrive at what just compensation is.  The problem comes in when emphasis attaches itself to the individual prospective of those involved. There are abuses on both sides as sometimes professionals get railed onto an opinion that oversteps the outside boundary of reasonableness from others.  There are team meetings.  Attorneys talk to each other in an effort to finalize the matter.  Numbers are discussed.  Experts are identified on both sides.  Mediation takes place.  Maybe depositions.  Strengths and weaker points of opinion are identified.  More talk between attorneys.  More numbers discussed.  Property owners come down in their number and condemning authorities go up with their numbers.  Sometimes the numbers just don’t work for one side.  Court. Jury. Decision. While not the most eloquently posted description of eminent domain, the meaning of it all is described in bare-bone fashion.  It’s what happens.  It’s what happens along the way that7 matters.  And the expert has a role in that journey. It has been my pleasure and privilege to work in this august profession.  My 50 years of knowledge in the field of plants and trees lent itself to the ability to maintain both trust and respect in representing both the property owner and the condemning authority almost equally; 50/50 representation.  This culmination of good gifts has enabled me to participate as an expert in over 700 legal Takings and legal plant and tree appraisal cases.  I have successfully appraised over 100 plant and tree nurseries.  I am humbled to be president of the Association of Eminent Domain Professionals and the founding president of the Florida Chapter, International Society of Arboriculture.  The state of Florida has awarded me a provider number to educate landscape architects on tree and plant issues.  I am also an educational speaker and provider of continuing education for arborists and have presented at over 90 international, national and state conferences.  I authored Rule chapter 14-40 of the Florida statutes providing a formula to appraise the value of trees in Florida.  I hold an intellectual copy write on the formula to appraise the value of a tree for its lost forestry functions. I do look forward to discussing your case with you and perhaps contribute to the outcome.  You are always welcome to give me a call on my mobile phone:  727-410-5797.

The Great Pancake House Summit Meeting

Oh lo, how many years have passed since one of the country’s leading property rights attorneys asked me to meet with him and his assistant to go over my deposition prior to giving it.  He was the lead property rights attorney for Florida’s oldest law firm.  He was located over 400 miles away, and wanted me to meet him at a pancake house at 5:00 AM.  My deposition was at 9:00 AM the same day.  The matter evolved around the governments taking of private property for public use – eminent domain – which may be found under Article 5 of the Bill of Rights.  The issue of eminent domain is, and was, so crucially important to our founding fathers that the same number of jurors required for capital murder is also required for eminent domain trials.  When you work in the field of eminent domain you are working in the literal heartbeat of our constitution.

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A Matter of Emphasis

A couple of decades ago I hung a picture on my office wall.  I hung it there at the beginning of my career in appraising trees and plants.  The caption under the picture reads, “Do you want your assessment to show how much your tree is worth, or how little it is worth – it’s a matter of emphasis”.  Setting aside the naïveté of the statement, the question remains the matter of emphasis in the approach used to valuation – and the ethical repercussions which ensue.

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