The following is a case study of a powerline taking. The eminent domain attorneys at Sever Storey represented the landowners in this case. This case study is intended to provide an example of the positive value a condemnation attorney can add to a landowners case when faced with eminent domain.

S****** Case Study

Case Instituted: 2011

Case Completed: 2011


In this case, the piece of property at issue was a long, narrow piece of farmland property abutting a country road in rural southern Indiana. The energy company, Vectren, required 1,320 lineal feet of Right-of-Way easement of our client’s property to build an electric transmission line. The easement was to run east/west through the northern half of client’s property, effectively dividing the property into two, unequal parcels of land.

Vectren’s initial offer for total compensation was $22,124.20. Vectren’s offer was solely based on land acquisition and did not factor in the residual damages that undoubtedly occur to the remainder property after dividing farmland into two separate parcels. Indeed, even Vectren’s estimation of the land value acquired was based on inappropriate and outdated sales comparables.

Our firm was already in possession of all the necessary tools to effectively counter Vectren’s offer. We utilized a newer, more relevant study of land value in the area of the affected parcel, driving the counteroffer for land acquired up to $6,500 per acre. More importantly, though, we utilized a study, already in our possession, that highlighted the damages our client’s remainder property would suffer as a result of the transmission line. We also added a calculation for “compaction damages.” Compaction damage is when the soil around the power line gets compacted together, reducing the productivity of the land around the transmission line.


After a series of back and forth negotiations, we finally reached a number that met our client’s needs at $39,000.00. Important to note in this figure is that because the matter never reached litigation, we managed to get this just compensation for our client with ZERO out-of-pocket expenses. The client did not have to pay for court fees, appraisal fees, mediation fees, or any other expense that is usually required to advance litigation. Furthermore, whereas most eminent domain proceedings take at least a year before any resolution is met, negotiation between the parties took only months.

Even though this is an Indiana example, many of the same tools and strategies of this case study can be used across all of our states–particularly in Illinois where powerlines will be a big issue with the proposed Ameren Three Rivers, Rock Island Clean Line and Grain Belt Express Clean Line projects planned for the next few years.

If you are interested in speaking more about powerlines or would be interested in a free Sever Storey speaking arrangement contact our attorneys at any time at 1-888-318-3761 or visit us on the web at