Real Estate Litigation

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Briggs and Morgan's attorneys have substantial experience in resolving disagreements relating to real estate development, use and transfers. We work side-by-side with our transactional attorneys to fully understand and creatively resolve disputes arising from a wide variety of real estate related issues.

In today's regulated environment, real estate development begins with securing a wide variety of governmental approvals. Our real estate litigators have substantial experience in resolving issues relating to zoning approval, environmental permitting, conditional use permits (CUP) and construction authorizations. Our attorneys have often represented developers and businesses that wish to use or expand their operations for activities which have attracted opposition from neighbors or competitors. We know how to positively advocate for the rights of land owners and to creatively respond to and overcome initial governmental opposition to our clients' proposed changes in land use.

Briggs and Morgan is one of the most experienced law firms in the Twin Cities in the areas of eminent domain and condemnation. Because our lawyers have represented both condemnors and property owners concerning numerous different types of property uses, our attorneys are uniquely equipped to understand all of the relevant issues and to creatively solve issues related to takings, inverse condemnation, valuation and relocation. Our attorneys have extensive experience in negotiation, condemnation commission hearings, trials, practice before Administrative Law Judges and arguing both the theory and practice of eminent domain before appellate courts.

Real property taxation and assessments are of particular concern to property owners, tenants and to local governments. Our attorneys regularly appear before the Minnesota Tax Court, a specialized three-judge tribunal which hears and decides statutory tax related controversies. Our attorneys have represented numerous businesses and taxing authorities, giving us a broad depth of understanding of both statutory interpretation and proper valuation procedures. We routinely work with numerous appraisers and valuation experts. 

Governmental regulation of land use also extends deep into the issues surrounding environmental contamination and cleanup. Briggs' attorneys have represented numerous property owners in resolving disputes and claims concerning the appropriate determination of responsible party liability, the necessary extent of cleanup and the effects of contamination on real estate valuation. 

Our attorneys have represented numerous owners of real property and commercial tenants in resolving disputes relating to such issues as breach of lease terms, interpretation of reciprocal easement agreements, constructive eviction, anticipatory breach of a lease agreement, specific performance and rights of first refusal for the purchase of real estate. 

Real estate title issues can be complex and confusing. The attorneys at Briggs and Morgan, both in our real estate and real estate litigation practices, have substantial experience in resolving complex issues that can seem both indecipherable and boring. We are committed to resolving title and conveyancing issues in appropriate and cost-effective ways. 

We know and appreciate that many real estate owners consider real estate litigation as one of the most negative consequences sometimes associated with real estate use and development. Our attorneys use a wide range of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) procedures to resolve real estate disputes without trial. Many of our attorneys have served as arbitrators and mediators and have successfully resolved numerous real estate disputes arising from many different scenarios. 

Representative Matters

  • Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed eminent domain acquisition and use of quick-take procedures.
  • Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed hearing officers' findings that auto parts business failed to properly document direct-loss claim for relocation benefits following eminent domain acquisition.
  • Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed property tax valuation after trial in district court and also approved denial of subpoena for expert witness and substantial recovery of expert witness costs.
  • Minnesota Court of Appeals holds that the language of the Petroleum Marketing Practices Act does not overcome language in a franchise contract, which precludes convenience store operator from claiming loss of going concern damages when property was condemned for road widening.
  • Minnesota Court of Appeals interpreted newly amended eminent domain statute to identify conditions under which a court may authorize public access to private property for conducting environmental tests.
  • Minnesota Court of Appeals upholds pre-existing lease for billboard against new owners' attacks based on lack of spouse's signature and that inadequate legal description violated the Minnesota Statute of Frauds.
  • Minnesota Supreme Court interpreted state statutes specifying which structures at industrial plants were subject to property tax, affirming continued validity of "special purpose" property designation, and describing proper application of cost and sales approaches to valuation.
  • Represented County in defense of property tax assessment on large agri-industrial facilities.
  • Represented County in defense of property tax assessment on office and industrial properties.
  • Represented land owner/developer in partial-taking for highway project. State offered $870,000; settled shortly before trial for $3,700,000 plus reimbursement for all attorneys' fees and expert costs.
  • Represented national discount retailer with large store in central Minnesota; negotiated arrangements to minimize disruption and provide extra signage and clear travel routes for customers when state transportation department took part of shopping center grounds for highway expansion.
  • Represented northern Minnesota city in acquiring numerous land parcels for $35 million flood control project; commenced two eminent domain proceedings; represented city in ten commission hearings; negotiated settlements for all properties without trials.
  • Represented southern Minnesota city in eminent domain jury trial to determine damages when city road project removed primary access and altered property's highest and best use.
  • Represented suburban city in negotiated purchase and eminent domain acquisitions of interstate-frontage properties for highway expansions; settlements including city/business land swap and reimbursement of construction costs to accommodate effects of taking on remainder of auto dealership property.
  • Represented suburban city in negotiated purchases and eminent domain acquisition of commercial properties for highway roundabout.