Steve is an eminent domain lawyer, focusing on all aspects of the land acquisition process, including condemnation, for major transmission and pipeline projects.
Steve has significant experience representing both landowners and taking authorities on condemnation proceedings. When working with taking authorities (usually utilities or pipeline companies), Steve works with the client to efficiently obtain the right-of-way necessary to construct major linear electric transmission facilities or pipelines. Steve’s work often begins during the regulatory process and extends through the valuation process. When working with landowners, Steve works with the client to develop and present a claim for just compensation. Steve has tried scores of cases to court-appointed condemnation commissioners, juries and judges.
- Land Rights Counsel for the CapX2020 Transmission Projects. As Land Rights Counsel, Steve has represented the CapX2020 participants with respect to real estate, property and land acquisition issues, including the condemnation of the easement necessary to construct the projects. The CapX2020 Projects include the construction of a 345 kV transmission line from Monticello, Minnesota to Fargo, North Dakota (220 miles); a 345 kV transmission line from Brookings, South Dakota to Hampton, Minnesota (250 miles); a 345 kV transmission line from Hampton, Minnesota to La Crosse, Minnesota (125 miles); and a 230 kV line from Bemidji, Minnesota to Grand Rapids, Minnesota (75 miles).
- Co-Land Rights Counsel for the MinnCan Pipeline. Steve served as the primary trial counsel for the MinnCan Pipeline project, a 304-mile pipeline that runs from Clearwater, Minnesota to the Flint Hills refinery in Rosemount, Minnesota. In connection with this representation, Steve worked with the client throughout the land acquisition process.
- Counsel for owners in condemnation cases. For the past 16 years, Steve has represented landowners who have had their property taken for various projects. The cases have ranged from narrow strip takings for road-widening projects to total takings of substantial commercial properties. Steve has represented landowners with respect to pre-petition settlement negotiations, at commissioners’ hearings, at jury trials, and at the Court of Appeals. Steve’s goal, at each stage of the process, is to make sure that his client is fairly compensated for the taking. Examples of landowner representation include:
- Served as lead trial counsel in Minneapolis Community Development Agency v. Reichhold, Inc. (2005). After three contested hearings on petition, the District Court denied the MCDA’s condemnation petition. Ultimately the District Court granted client Reichhold its costs and attorneys’ fees.
- Obtained a $3 million dollar award in a court trial on behalf of a landowner. The taking authority’s position at the trial was that the owners were entitled to no compensation at all as a result of the taking.
- Obtained $1.3 million jury verdict on behalf of the owner of an approximately two acre commercial property in Buffalo, Minnesota. The taking authority’s final offer before commencing the condemnation proceeding was $555,000.
- Obtained a $495,000 commissioner award resulting from the partial taking affecting a 40 acre parcel located north of Rochester, Minnesota on Highway 52. The taking authority’s final offer before condemnation was approximately $100,000.
- Obtained, through settlement, over $1,050,000 for partial taking of parcel located on Highway 52 near Oronoco, Minnesota. The taking authority’s final offer to the landowner prior to commencing the condemnation proceeding was $231,000.
- Obtained, through settlement, over $1,000,000 for partial taking of parcel located near 48th Street and Highway 63 in Rochester, Minnesota. The taking authority’s final offer to the landowner prior to commencing the condemnation proceeding was $255,000
- University of Minnesota Law School, JD, 1994, cum laude
- Saint John’s University, 1989, magna cum laude
- Minnesota, 1994
- U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, 1995
- Best Lawyers in America, Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law, 2013-2024; Administrative / Regulatory Law, 2024
- North Star Lawyer, Minnesota State Bar Association, 2018, 2022
Civic & Professional
- American Bar Association
- Minnesota State Bar Association
- Hennepin County Bar Association, Eminent Domain Section, Member
- Volunteer Lawyers Network
- Fredrikson & Byron, P.A., Board of Directors
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