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American Bar Association

Condemnation, Zoning & Land Use Committee




Welcome to the Condemnation, Zoning & Land Use Committee website! We provide an essential wealth of information, resources, and practice support for our committee members through substantive updates and articles as well as opportunities to network with other professionals around the country. We have over 600 members, across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the territories of Puerto Rico and Guam. Last year, the committee published Fifty-State Survey: The Law of Eminent Domain, a 50-state compendium that summarizes condemnation laws across the United States and the District of Columbia. It is available from the ABA Bookstore. In addition to an overview of condemnation laws in each state, the compendium offers practical knowledge of procedures that are unique to each jurisdiction from practitioners. For those readers who are new to the practice of law or new to the committee, we hope this website provides you with not only substantive answers to your questions about condemnation, zoning, and land use law, but also insight into the practice in this area and the opportunity to build your own. We invite you to join our committee and enjoy the benefits that it has to offer.

On this website, you will find useful information in News & Developments, a quick read of current topics, in Articles, which offers more in-depth discussion of issues, and in Case Notes, a short summary of recent court opinions and cases by state. The committee strives to publish one to two e-newsletters per year that provide useful and comprehensive information on the most significant cases, legislative initiatives, and other legal developments throughout the country in the condemnation, zoning, and land use field. In addition, we keep our members informed of interesting CLEs and other ABA-sponsored events that are relevant to our practice area. The committee often co-sponsors CLEs with other committees at the ABA Annual Meeting in August and the Section of Litigation Annual Conference in April of each year.

New to the committee this year is our LinkedIn page, which offers the chance to connect with other lawyers in the field to establish contacts, and share knowledge and information as well as referrals. Contact media and communications subcommittee chair, Anthony Della Pelle, who hosts the group, for more information.

One of the most important resources we offer our members is the opportunity to publish. We encourage you to contribute an article or case note to the website and to the newsletter. Please contact our newsletter editor, Richard Rodriquez, if you are interested in being published in the newsletter. The Fifty-State Survey compendium is the most substantive opportunity to publish. Our members have access to regular updates to the compendium through the website. If you do not see your state (or a state in which you practice) in the compendium, please think about becoming a state editor. This offers substantial exposure for both you and your firm’s practice with a very modest time commitment. Contact, or one of our committee co-chairs, J. Casey Pipes or Bill Blake if you are interested. Many of our state editors have contributed case notes and commentary on interesting developments in the law, in addition to their state outlines, and have reported positive feedback (and referrals) as a result of the postings! It is a benefit that is well worth the time and effort.

Christian F. Torgrimson, Website Editor


Section Annual Conference

The Section of Litigation Annual Conference will be held April 24–26, 2013 in Chicago. Registration is open. Here is the programming offered by the Condemnation, Zoning & Land Use Committee:

Catastrophic Events . . . the Aftermath for Commercial Properties

This program will explore major catastrophic events such as the World Trade Center terrorism attack (the resolution of substantial real property damage claims), Hurricane Katrina (Judge Duvall issued historic rulings against the government involving constitutional rights of evacuees and government negligence), and the Gulf oil disaster, and the wake of substantial damages sustained by commercial-property owners. This program will center upon the challenges, including dealing with crisis management, the media, immediate access to courts as well as evidence preservation and gathering.

The Future of Hydraulic Fracturing Litigation

This program will examine land-use litigation issues arising out of the use of shale-fracturing techniques to remove natural gas. The program will focus on private litigation involving health and safety issues for activities exempt from clean-water and clean-air regulations; land valuations; and post drilling clean-up. The program is a hot topic prevalent in today's headlines. The program will include private practitioners representing landowners and oil and gas industry representatives.

The Foreclosure Crisis Puzzle: Navigating the Changing Landscape of Foreclosure

This program will focus on the cutting-edge litigation in residential foreclosures and the evolution of the requirements necessary to foreclose—specifically, on the evolving requirements of assignments of the mortgage and possession of the note prior to foreclosure. The program will examine non-judicial foreclosure developments using three recent cases out of Massachusetts as a guide, U.S. Bank Nat'l Ass'n v. Ibanez, Bevilacqua v. Rodriguez, and Eaton v. Federal National Mortgage Association. The program will also explore future policies and legal and litigation tactics.

New Committee Assignments

Your committee website editor, from Lincoln, has accepted appointment as Committee co-chair, replacing Bob Will, who is from St. Louis. Bob will be moving on to another committee, which is being formed by the Section at least partly as a result of Bob’s efforts. Casey Pipes, of Mobile, will remain as the other cochair.

Christian Torgrimson, from Atlanta, is taking over as website editor immediately following this posting, and Richard Rodriguez is the new newsletter editor. Richard’s home is Denver.

We have seen positive growth in our committee over the last few years, and we believe we are positioned to continue to provide the kind of useful services to our members that will cause the committee to stay on the right track.

Compendium of Eminent Domain Published

The committee’s effort to provide a compendium of the law of eminent domain in the fifty states has been published by the First Chair Press, as The Law of Eminent Domain. The book contains outlines for all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and is available from the ABA bookstore.

Publication does not mean the end for this project, started by Susan Low when she was committee cochair in 2004. While the compendium will be removed from this website, we hope to use the compendium to supplement the state chapters with new developments.

Call for Newsletter Articles

The newsletter is read not only by your fellow committee members, but also by a nationwide audience of practitioners focused on condemnation, zoning, and land use disputes and litigation. It provides an excellent opportunity for publication.

Please let us know If you have an interest in submitting a paper on condemnation, zoning, or land use issues, or on general litigation skills and practice. Articles written about cases in which you have been involved are often the most interesting, and are the easiest to write, in that you can “repurpose” content you have already created and do not have to create an article from scratch. Articles need not be long, and should always be less than 2,500 words.

Please direct questions and submissions to our newsletter editor Richard Rodriguez.

Message from the Chairs


Welcome to the Condemnation, Zoning & Land Use Committee.

We seek to be a premier source of information in this exciting area of law while also serving as a networking and resource tool for the litigators in our field. There are many opportunities for members to become involved in our committee’s upcoming events and ongoing projects. We are always on the lookout for new members wanting to become involved either in existing activities or in creating new ones. Committee involvement is rewarding both from a personal and professional standpoint. These activities include:

The Fifty-State Compendium Has Been Published!
First Chair Press has published our Fifty-State Compendium of condemnation law. It can be purchased here. The web-based compendium will no longer be available. Our compendium page will be used to post chapter updates and developments occurring between print editions so that you can have the most up-to-date information for each state. If you have any questions regarding the publication, please contact Bill Blake, the compendium editor.

Website Contributions
Our committee’s website is a great resource for news and developments as well as in-depth analysis and articles on important issues in our field. Anyone who would like to contribute an article, case notes, news, or other information to the website can contact our website editor, Christian Torgrimson.

Our next newsletter is nearing publication, and we are already seeking articles for the subsequent edition to which you can contribute. These are generally slightly longer treatments of topics or cases than the case notes posted on our website. We strongly encourage those who have been involved in interesting or noteworthy cases in the past year or two to consider a contribution. We find that one can often create an article simply by “repurposing” a brief or other document, with minimal editing. Not only does this make it easy for the author, but also our members consistently report that these firsthand accounts generally are the most interesting and informative to read. We encourage anyone who has a topic of interest to contract our newsletter editor, Richard Rodriguez.   

CLE Program Ideas
We regularly sponsor or co-sponsor CLE programs on timely topics in the field of eminent domain and land use, and are always looking for new ideas and presenters for regional CLEs, webinars, and programs for the Section Annual Conference (usually in April) and ABA Annual Meeting (usually in August). If you are interested or have any ideas, please feel free to contact our Programs Subcommittee chair.

Leadership Positions
One of the goals in our committee is to encourage active participation. We have several active subcommittees, and are always open to creating a new subcommittee depending on your area of interest and activity. Feel free to contact Casey or Bill to indicate your interest in an existing subcommittee, or in creating a new subcommittee.

J. Casey Pipes

William G. (Bill) Blake

Cochairs, Condemnation, Zoning & Land Use Litigation Committee


Our active subcommittees include:

  • Annual Review
  • Damages
  • Diversity
  • Inverse Condemnation
  • Media and Communications


  • Membership
  • Programming
  • Website
  • Young Lawyers
  • Zoning and Land Use

Find contact information for committee and subcommittee chairs:


Condemnation, Zoning & Land Use Leadership

Cochairs Editors  

Casey Pipes

Mobile, AL

Bill Blake

Lincoln, NE

Christian Torgrimson

Atlanta, GA
Web Editor

Richard Rodriguez

Denver, CO
Newsletter Editor


The Law of Eminent Domain

A single resource for eminent domain practitioners, this guide is a reference for questions about eminent domain and condemnation procedure in every state and the District of Columbia.


A Century of Legal Ethics: Trial Lawyers and the ABA Canons of Professional Ethics

The ABA Canons of Ethics was adopted in 1908 and created ethical standards for lawyers.