My private site

I am an attorney licensed in North Carolina and Florida and am also admitted to the United States District Court for both the Eastern District of North Carolina and the Southern District of Florida. I started out as an assistant DA in the former 20th Prosecutorial District of North Carolina, prosecuting everything from misdemeanors to murder cases in Anson, Stanly, Richmond, and Union Counties.

Then, for about two years, I worked in commercial litigation and product liability defense with a large Florida firm in Miami. After returning home to Raleigh, North Carolina, I began practicing eminent domain / land condemnation law in NC in 2003. In 2007, I joined the Raleigh City Attorney’s Office as an associate city attorney, and currently practice in the areas of eminent domain and general civil litigation in North Carolina state and federal courts.  Nevertheless, this is, of course, my private website, and it contains only my private work and personal views.

Interested in North Carolina Real Estate Law?

It can be hard to keep up with changing real estate laws, especially in areas of North Carolina eminent domain and other real estate litigation. One point of this site is to highlight some of the more interesting North Carolina real estate laws and how they are applied in North Carolina real estate litigation.

New to Raleigh or looking for more info on the Capital City or North Carolina?

You may be new to Raleigh or North Carolina or even just considering moving here. Another point of this site is to help you find out a little about the the Triangle area or other parts of “the Old North State” from a local professional’s perspective.

Willkommen in North Carolina German-speaking attorneys in North Carolina Also, if you are German, Austrian or Swiss and thinking of visiting or even moving to North Carolina, you will find an occasional post “auf Deutsch” about living and working in North Carolina.  Years ago, I worked in Munich as the first American summer “Praktikant” (“intern”) with Wacker Chemie, GmbH. Thereafter, I studied “Germanistik” for a year as an exchange student at the University of Tübingen (near Stuttgart).

Looking for helpful Resources about Raleigh, North Carolina, and North Carolina real estate law?

Resource Links - Portland Personal Injury Attorney, North Carolina Real Estate Trial Attorney, North Carolina Eminent Domain Attorneys, North Carolina Land Condemnation AttorneysWake County Register of Deeds

You may be looking for additional helpful resources. If so, you should definitely check out the Resource Links page. It can be a great place to start.

My contact info

You can find my current contact information on my Contact page.  From there, you can also send me an email.

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North Carolina eminent domain, North Carolina land condemnation

North Carolina eminent domain law

As an Associate City Attorney, my primary practice area is eminent domain or land condemnation, representing the City of Raleigh in filing lawsuits to acquire private property for public projects for the City of Raleigh.  My wife, Inez de Ondarza Simmons, is also an North Carolina eminent domain lawyer, although she never represents clients against the City of Raleigh.

We have noticed that since the Connecticut condemnation case of Kelo v. City of New London, eminent domain has become a very popular topic of discussion.  But in North Carolina, the law of eminent domain is different than in other states, and it is complicated.  The key North Carolina eminent domain statutes are spread across a handful of Articles in two separate Chapters of the North Carolina General Statutes.  The rules of evidence and procedure differ from other types of civil litigation.  Moreover, in North Carolina, how damages are determined (the “measure of damages”) depends on which condemnor files the lawsuit and the purpose for which the private property is being acquired.

NC Eminent Domain Law for Property OwnersNew Eminent Domain Resouce for NC Property Owners!

Inez has recently started a new website to try to help regular people — individuals and business owners — understand how eminent domain works here in North Carolina. To jump to her new site, you should click  here.


To help provide a resource on the law of eminent domain, I recently started a new website, CarolinaCondemnationLaw.com.  On it you will find summaries of eminent domain cases as they are handed down by the North Carolina Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.  At the end of each summary is a link to the PDF of the Court’s actual opinion that is published on the Court’s website as well as a link to the case as published on Westlaw, one of two main legal databases.  If you have a Westlaw account, you can click the Westlaw link, sign into Westlaw, and you will be brought directly to the case, complete with Westlaw’s headnotes.

In addition to the cases, you can also find key North Carolina land condemnation statutes.  The  “quick take” statutes of Chapter 136 are already up.  (The NC DOT and certain other condemnors have “quick-take” power and file their condemnation lawsuits under Chapter 136.)  The Chapter 40A statutes are coming.  Generally, cities and counties do not have Chapter 136 power and have to use Article 3 of Chapter 40A.  Progress Energy and other public utilities land condemnation is governed by Article 2 of Chapter 40A, which has yet a different set of rules.

Also, Razz Rasberry, a Deputy City Attorney with the City of Raleigh, was kind enough to let me put up his latest paper on inverse condemnation, which includes an inverse condemnation case update.  Many people, including some lawyers, do not understand the phrase, “inverse condemnation”, or what it can mean in terms of attorney’s fees and costs for the property owner in North Carolina. So, once again, Razz has provided an excellent resource.

So, if you would like to learn more about North Carolina condemnation law or if you are another land condemnation lawyer in NC and want an easy way to keep up with new cases and statutes, you should visit and bookmark CarolinaCondemnationLaw.com.

P.S.  There is also a Twitter feed. If you follow it @NCCondemnLaw, you will know about new posts as soon as they go up.

P.P.S. Looking for an eminent domain resource geared specifically for North Carolina property owners? Again, to see Inez’s new site, you should click here.

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