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Clark Hill PLC is an entrepreneurial full-service law firm serving clients in all areas of  real estate, business legal services, litigation, and personal legal services. For more information on Clark Hill's practice areas, professionals, and office locations, please visit clarkhill.com

 

 

 

 

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Stephon B. Bagne

Member, Clark Hill PLC

Phone: (313) 965-8897

Fax: (313) 309-6897

Email: sbagne@clarkhill.com

Website: Clark Hill Property Owner Condemnation Services

 

Stephon B. Bagne’s expertise in representing property owners in condemnation cases is widely recognized. Stephon has represented all types of property owners in a variety of situations including vacant and improved property, partial and total takings, easement and fee acquisitions, involving commercial and residential properties. He has won jury trials in courts throughout the State of Michigan and successfully defended those verdicts before the Michigan Court of Appeals. Stephon has prevailed in challenges of the necessity of takings and negotiated less onerous acquisitions in partial taking matters. He regularly speaks and writes about eminent domain and other real estate law issues for a variety of professional organizations. For a more complete bio, please click here.

 

 

 

 

Friday
Apr202018

Eminent Domain at the Oscars?

The movie Little Pink House focuses upon the battle over eminent domain in a landmark SCOTUS case.

In what may be a first, there is Oscars buzz for a movie focused on eminent domain. The “buzz” is not necessarily coming from the movie industry but was raised by conservative columnist George Will. However, any popular publicity is more than what normally exists.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Apr162018

U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Allows Citizens Groups’ Environmental Lawsuit to Proceed

South Carolina decision could become relevant to protecting the Great Lakes.

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has jurisdiction over matters originating in Maryland, North and South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. Last week, a divided panel allowed two citizen groups to proceed with a lawsuit seeking injunctive relief following a pipeline spill. In 2014, a Kinder Morgan pipeline ruptured in Belton, South Carolina. While the source of the rupture was repaired and most of the released gasoline was recaptured, the citizen groups allege that a plume of contamination was threatening wetlands, streams, and the Savannah River. The district court judge dismissed the lawsuit because the rupture had been repaired and there was no direct contamination of waterways. Two judges agreed that "nothing in the language of the CWA suggests that citizens are barred from seeking injunctive relief after a polluter has repaired the initial cause of the pollution.” A third judge dissented. The majority determined that pollution migrating through groundwater was a sufficient basis to bring an action under the federal Clean Water Act.

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Thursday
Apr052018

Nexus Seeking Dewatering Agreements

When acquiring permanent easements, Nexus apparently did not analyze how it would dewater the trench and is requesting that owners sign supplemental agreements with little to no consideration.

I have communicated with a number of clients who I represented when Nexus Gas Transmission acquired pipeline easements. After agreeing to those easements, Nexus is asking some of my clients to sign new Dewatering Agreements.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Apr022018

Agricultural Property Owner Group Formed in Coldwater

Farm owners have banded together in response to METC Coldwater capital project.

Michigan Electrical Transmission Company or METC is a subsidiary of ITC that owns transmission facilities on the western side of Michigan. METC is embarking on a new capital project in Coldwater, Michigan. This project will entail acquiring easements over primarily agricultural land to install new transmission lines. I have been retained by a significant number of property impacted owners.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Mar282018

Owners Guide to Understanding the Definition of Parcel

Just compensation includes not just the impact to the property actually taken but expands to include impacts to the larger parcel.

Michigan law recognizes an expansive approach to evaluating just compensation. For example, if only a portion of a property is taken, just compensation takes into account damages to the remainder of that property. This jury instruction summarizes damage to the remainder issues, which are typically the most heavily contested matter in a condemnation case.

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Monday
Mar262018

ITC Appraisers Active on Macomb Orchard Trail

ITC is preparing appraisals that will serve as good faith offers for the next phase of takings along the Macomb Orchard Trail.

ITC has been acquiring vegetation management easements along the Adams Spokane transmission line in Oakland and Macomb Counties for a couple years. The most recent batch of cases involved takings from the Breckenridge Subdivision in Washington Township. ITC is now moving farther along the line, including into Shelby Township. One of ITC’s regular appraisers has sent letters to property owners seeking to inspect their properties for purposes of his appraisal.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jan302018

Oakland County Road Commission Filing New Condemnations

As part of its efforts to widen Baldwin Road, the Road Commission is filing new condemnation lawsuits.

The Board of County Road Commissioners of Oakland County is undertaking a project to widen Baldwin Road in Orion Township and add round-a-bouts. In order to implement that project, the Road Commission has been filing new condemnation lawsuits in Oakland County Circuit Court to obtain the additional right of way.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan192018

Yet Another ET Rover Pipeline Accident

The ET Rover Pipeline through Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania suffers yet another environmental accident.

I have documented past problems with the construction of the ET Rover pipeline. Last week, yet another incident occurred. Rover spilled 146,000 gallons of industrial waste near the Tuscarawas River in Ohio. At least this spill does not involve as much industrial waste as the 2,000,000 gallons previously spilled in a wetland near the same river.

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Thursday
Jan182018

President’s Infrastructure Proposal Delayed

President’s Trump’s campaign promise to implement massive infrastructure spending likely delayed until after the State of the Union address.

While campaigning, President Trump promised to both expedite the processes relating to federal approval of infrastructure spending and massively increase infrastructure spending. As this article confirms, the plan has been yet to be provided. Trump’s two main goals for the bill are to inject $1 trillion worth of overall investment into the nation’s infrastructure and bring down the lengthy construction permitting process to two years. White House officials told a bipartisan group of lawmakers on Capitol Hill that the proposal could now be released after Trump’s inaugural State of the Union address on January 30, 2018.

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Friday
Dec152017

State Board Attacks Snyder Enbridge Deal

The Michigan Pipeline Safety Advisory Board adopted a resolution seeking temporary closure of Enbridge Line 5 pipeline.

I recently posted about a deal made by Governor Snyder and Enbridge. 

Recently, the Michigan Pipeline Safety Advisory Board adopted a resolution seeking temporary closure of the Line 5 pipeline. A majority of the board members abstained from the vote, potentially for political reasons, but allowed the resolution to pass. 

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Wednesday
Dec132017

MDOT Planning To Remove I-375 In Detroit. If History Were Different, Could A Proposal To Build It Be Challenged?

I take a run at historical fiction in light of MDOT’s plans to remove I-375 and in the process discuss necessity and public use concepts.

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) recently announced that it is proceeding with its plan to remove I-375, which is a spur from I-75 south into downtown Detroit. MDOT intends to create a surface street in its place that includes green space.

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Friday
Dec012017

Beware of the Right of Way Agent

Let’s face it. Sometimes right of way agents can use questionable techniques. Here are some tactics to avoid.

I open this post with a disclaimer. All types of people can be confronted with a condemnation project. Their experience with legal processes, sophistication relating to real estate transactions or contracts, their ability to separate the emotional impact of the (very real) intrusion created by a condemnation from the applicable legal standards, and even their candor can vary widely. Perhaps some of the stories that I hear about the conduct of right of way agents are the product of misunderstanding or exaggeration. But the stories are frequent, shocking, and offensive. And many of the stories are supported by documents or my own observations.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Nov292017

ITC’s Expanded Coldwater Project Implicates Special Just Compensation Issues for Farmers

ITC is adding a new phase to its Coldwater Capital Project, impacting area farmers.

This post describes ITC’s capital project. I have learned that ITC is seeking to expand the project and take easements from agricultural properties not shown in their earlier plans.

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Tuesday
Nov282017

Spill in North Dakota and Explosion in Orion Township Illustrates the Differences Between the Dangers of Petroleum and Natural Pipelines

210,000 gallons of crude oil leaked from Keystone Pipeline in South Dakota threatens groundwater in the area while a pipeline explosion in OrionTownship left a huge crater.

In order to evaluate the impact of a new pipeline, it is necessary to know what type of material will be transported through it.

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Monday
Nov272017

Movement on Controversial Line 5 Pipeline

Enbridge agrees to replace a portion of the line and the State is evaluating additional remedies.

The Enbridge Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac has engendered a great deal of controversy. For example, this blog post details earlier efforts to close the line due to the fear that it could rupture due to its age, causing a tremendous impact upon the Great Lakes.

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Wednesday
Nov082017

Consumers Filing Saginaw Lawsuits

Consumers Power has filed multiple lawsuits using eminent domain.

I previously wrote Consumers Energy to Reconstruct Line 2800 Pipeline, a 24" Natural Gas Pipeline describing a new pipeline being constructed by Consumers. Consumers have filed multiple lawsuits in Saginaw County exercising eminent domain to acquire rights for this pipeline.

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Wednesday
Nov082017

ITC Moving North Along Macomb Orchard Trail

ITC seeking more new vegetation management easements in Washington Township.

I am currently representing 25 property owners in the Breckenridge Subdivision, houses on Yorkshire and Berkshire in Washington Township. These houses back to the Macomb Orchard Trail. I previously represented owners further south on the Trail.

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Thursday
Oct122017

GORDIE HOWE BRIDGE MOVES ONE STEP CLOSER

The owners of the existing Ambassador Bridge lost one of their many arguments in Wayne County Circuit Court.

 

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Friday
Oct062017

ITC CONTEMPLATING NEW PROJECT IN COLDWATER

ITC is publicizing its Coldwater Transmission Project in the vicinity of Jonesville, Newton and State Roads going north to south and Fiske Road and Michigan Ave going east to west.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Oct062017

ITC IMPLEMENTING NEW CAPITAL PROJECT IN ANN ARBOR AREA

I have been contacted by property owners from whom ITC is seeking right of way for a new transmission line project in Ann Arbor and Pittsfield Township

Click to read more ...