Special Commissioners’ Hearings
Every statutory condemnation case must go through an administrative phase in which disinterested landowners in the county are appointed as Special Commissioners to assess the market value based on evidence presented by both sides in an informal hearing.
The attorneys at McFarland PLLC handled hundreds of Special Commissioners’ hearings for landowners and are immersed in all aspects of condemnation procedures and pitfalls.
What to Expect?
The administrative hearing allows each side to explain its position and expose the weaknesses of its opponent’s position to a panel of disinterested decision-makers. After hearing the evidence and receiving the award, the parties are in a much better position to evaluate their respective positions and consider settlement. Many cases are resolved following the administrative phase. However, either side may appeal the award for any reason, at which point the case proceeds as any other civil case on the court’s docket.
The Special Commissioners
The special commissioners are three landowners with no interest in the property being condemned and no connection to the parties involved in the condemnation. They are appointed by the judge. Each party is given time to strike one of the commissioners for any reason. Occasionally, a commissioner may be stricken if they are not qualified to render a fair and impartial decision.
In making their determination, the special commissioners take into account:
- The market value of the condemned property
- Any reduction or increase in property value caused by the condemnation
- The condemning entity’s plans for the property
The Importance of Legal Counsel
The administrative hearings represent a landowner’s best early opportunity to maximize compensation. For this reason, it is important to have an experienced attorney protecting your interests. It is a contested evidentiary hearing, so the condemning authority, typically represented by experienced counsel, is at an extreme advantage if you are not similarly represented.
Our attorneys are here to protect your rights during all aspects of a condemnation action, including the Special Commissioners’ hearing. To arrange a legal consultation with an experienced Texas eminent domain lawyer, contact our offices online or by telephone at 713-325-9700.