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Eminent Domain and Condemnation of Pipeline Easements

Eminent domain is defined as the power of the sovereign (or government) to take private property for a public use. Condemnation is the procedure by which the taking or appropriation occurs.  Many land owners are unaware of the process of Condemnation, the appropriation of private property by the government against the will of the owner.  John T Montgomery Attorney At Law helps property owners fight against Condemnation.


An easement is defined as a right given to an individual, agency or company by a landowner to make a limited use of a portion of the land for a special purpose. In Texas many pipeline companies strive for an easement through a land owners property.  In other words, they want to purchase just the portions of the land through which the pipeline will travel.  In order to circumvent a fair market value of the land, many companies turn to the process of condemnation in order to acquire the land. John T Montgomery Attorney At Law helps clients understand their rights and get ahead of the pipeline companies in order to get the due compensation they are deserved.

Common Carrier

In general any company or corporation qualifying as a common carrier in Texas has the right to enter and condemn all or part of land, rights-of-way and easements. This right extends to the property of any person or corporation, if the property is necessary for the construction, maintenance or operation of the common carrier pipeline. Most pipeline companies will qualify as a common carrier according to Texas Law.  When challenging a common carrier to their right of condemnation, the company must show that a determination of convenience and necessity to serve the public has been made for the project in question by the governing body, the board of directors or other authority having the power to speak and act for the company. 

Special Commisioners

If the final offer given by the pipeline company is turned down, most companies petition the court for a board of special commissioners to make a decision about the proposed easement. A judge appoints three disinterested real property owners residing in the county (giving preference to those agreed on between the parties) as special commissioners to assess damages. The judge must provide each party a reasonable period to strike one of the three commissioners appointed by the judge. During the special commissioners hearing, the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure do not apply since it is an informal hearing.  An attorney is not required for these hearings, but in order for a property owner to protect his rights it is best practice to have a knowledgeable attorney represent them through this process.  John T Montgomery Attorney At Law strives to protect property owner's rights that are infringed upon by unfair practices of pipeline and oil companies in Texas.

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