The pipeline company completed its survey of your property months ago. You have not heard from it or the friendly man since. You contacted the lawyer that did your estate planning or a relative that is an attorney about the survey lawsuit and after a quick examination they explained that since the order was granted ex parte and the fact that the survey had already been completed; there was not much point in responding to the litigation. The survey caused some minor damage to your property, a few tire ruts here and a cut fence there, but nothing severe enough that has caused you to think you should take on the behemoth that did the surveying. Instead, you decide that if you just keep quiet, maybe the pipeline will be built on someone else’s property.
Unfortunately, you soon receive a letter from those Columbus, Ohio lawyers. The letter has the words “Good Faith Offer” in bold at the top. Provided with the letter is an appraisal of your property, along the proposed path of the pipeline. You note that the appraisal states that the highest and best use of your property is farmland and values the same at a pathetically low value. However, the letter from the Columbus, Ohio lawyers explains that even though the pipeline company has the right to use eminent domain to take your property at the unreasonably low amount in the appraisal, it has determined that it should offer you a more generous amount. You note that this “generous” amount is still very low.
At this point, you know that the pipeline company has already been given the right to survey your property, without any input or compensation to you. The Columbus, Ohio lawyers’ letter makes it very clear that the pipeline company can easily just take your property anytime it wants. Even though the “generous” offer is still way too low, you only have a certain amount of time before you get sued, again. You feel like there is no good option. What do you do next?
Unfortunately, many Ohio landowners will settle with the pipeline company without the advice of an experienced oil and gas attorney. After all, by this time you have already lost in court once, without even being heard, and you feel like no matter what you do, you will not be treated or compensated fairly. This is precisely what the pipeline company intended: that you will feel beaten and settle without a fight.
Why do landowners hesitate to hire attorneys? Some landowners feel that even if they do engage attorneys, the attorneys will be unable to get the pipeline company’s offer up to a level that will offset the attorneys’ fees (oil and gas lawyers typically work for a contingency fee). This would cause the landowner to receive less than the “generous” offer. However, there are oil and gas lawyers out there that work on an hourly rate, or perhaps even better, a contingency fee that only applies to amounts over and above what you had been offered before you engaged the attorneys.
You are tired of getting pushed around! You decide to hire attorneys. What can attorneys do for you? Stick around for Part 4 to see!
About Arenstein & Andersen Co., LPA
Arenstein & Andersen Co., LPA located in Dublin, Ohio, represents landowners in their efforts to fight against the abusive use of eminent domain by privately owned pipeline companies against Ohio landowners. Whether you do not want a pipeline on your property or simply want fair compensation, we want to help.