What criteria should I consider when choosing an eminent domain lawyer?
How much do you charge for attorney fees and expert fees?
Brent Simon is owner of the Brent Simon Law Group.
Brent’s experience as the chief eminent domain attorney for Pasco County Florida from 1987 to 1993 provided intense litigation experience in a relatively short period. Pasco County had experienced explosive growth requiring hundreds of condemnation cases and various jury trials. Brent acted as the chief trial attorney and supervised other lawyers.
In 1993, Brent began his private eminent domain practice. Since that time, his eminent domain practice has focused on representing landowners and businesses against government acquisitions.
Brent’s clients vary from Fortune 500 companies to the small business owners and individual land owners. Brent has over thirty-five twelve person jury trials to his credit. In addition, he has lectured at the American Bar Association National Convention on Eminent Domain and authored articles published in trade magazines.
Besides a legal career concentrating on eminent domain, Brent Simon is also a qualified arbitrator and magistrate. Brent is highly involved in the International Rotary Club, having served as President of a 148 member club and chair of various community events.
What makes working with you different than working with other lawyers?
Cumberland School of Law
Doctor of Jurisprudence, 1985
Law Review: Journal of Trial Advocacy
Florida State University
Bachelor of Science
Double Minor: English/Communication
Who helps you generate the reports necessary to convince the government to pay more than what is being offered?
Experts are people with special training and experience. Every case is unique and will have unique needs. Depending on the case, our firm may partner with experts in the following fields at no cost to the owner.
Real Estate Appraiser
The appraiser’s job is to value the land and improvements taken, and based on the input of other experts, value the impact to the remaining property. Our firm only utilizes expert eminent domain real estate appraisers with years of experience. The case may ultimately go to a twelve-person jury trial where the appearance, demeanor, knowledge and experience of the appraisers will be tested.
Civil engineers review the site potential, prior to and after the land take. Properties with improvements are mapped out. The take and construction project are superimposed, and potential cures are devised. The take is two-dimensional while the project is three-dimensional. The construction plans must be reviewed. It is imperative that slopes, drainage, and all physical changes are considered and evaluated. Our firm only utilizes expert eminent domain engineers with actual development experience including subdivisions, general commercial, fast food, drug stores, auto parts stores, trucking, service stations, professional offices, and many more unique properties.
Class A General Contractor
The contractor is necessary to provide a reproduction replacement cost estimate, items in the area of land take, and improvements on the property. The general contractor also provides the cost for any potential cure. A very experienced capable general contractor who can explain the differences in the materials used to construct the subject improvements and the remaining useful life is a key element in determining depreciation rates. Often overlooked by other firms, an experienced Class “A” General Contractor is a forceful and compelling witness at a jury trial.
Property is to be valued at its highest and best use. The urban planner is responsible for reviewing the local government codes and reporting the potential uses for the property and any impairments to the potential uses that are caused by the taking and project. Urban planners may be utilized on vacant and improved properties. These experts have discovered errors in government reportswhich, when corrected, resulted in the doubling and tripling of recoveries. The urban planners utilized by our firm are very experienced real-world professionals.
Fixture and Equipment Specialist
This expert specializes in valuing business fixtures and equipment of all types. This expert is very important in cases where the business utilizes machinery and equipment. The fixture and equipment specialist may be used in cases involving restaurants, stores, general commercial, farms, auto parts, fast food, office, service stations, manufacturing and industrialsites to name a few. Real Estate Appraisers and Business Damage experts often depend on the Fixture and Equipment Specialist for information for inclusion in their reports.
Certified Public Accountant (CPA)/Business Damage Expert
The CPA’s report is based on input from all other experts together with the owner’s business records. The CPA prepares the business damage claim. Very strict rules regarding items of compensability and form of claim exist. Our firm only utilizes expert eminent domain CPAs with years of experience in documenting business damages as well as testifying at actual jury trials.
The horticulturalist is an expert in valuing native and non-native plant material. All items in the take must be accounted for, including plant material. Depending on the case, the horticulturalist may provide the cost to plant replacement buffers.
The environmentalist is often utilized on parcels of property where there is a question regarding the potential developability of property because of the presence of wetlands. The environmental agencies have many rules regulating the use of wetlands, however the type and quality of wetlands may be open to subjective interpretation. There are various classes of wetlands and some are more difficult to develop than others. Disturbing wetlands by mitigating elsewhere on the property, or even at an offsite mitigation bank, may be possible. An appraiser, aware that seemingly undevelopable land can be converted to uplands through this process, may find a much greater price per square foot value than in the case of undevelopable wetlands.
Additional experts may be needed depending on the case. My firm has utilized the services of fuel cell experts, marketing experts, assembly line experts, farm experts, ostrich farm experts, gas station fixture and equipment experts, and legal experts to name a few. Whatever expert is needed to properly evaluate your unique property or business will be retained at no charge to you.
The owner may provide surveys, site plans, and construction plans to assist the case preparation. In Florida, a property owner is allowed to express an opinion of value. No one understands how their property functions or business operates better than the owner. The owner should not be ignored but rather become the most important member of the team.
To view the types of clients we serve click on the “Home” menu.