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In the summer of 2012, Sadie Legrand walked to her mailbox just as she did every day. She saw that she had a letter from Progress Energy, announcing that it was running an easement for some utility lines across the property.
The letter was about the farm land Sadie lived adjacent to, land that had been in her family for more than one-hundred fifty years. Her great-great-great grandfather had been, she says, the first black farmer to own his own land in her area of Richmond County.
“I was scared when I read the letter,” Sadie said.
No Choice of Condemnation
Under state law, Progress Energy and other regulated utilities have the right to utilize what’s called eminent domain to acquire property to make way for new, expanded or shifted power lines.
Sadie lives in the house where she grew up. Progress Energy didn’t need to take the home, but it had the right to buy a small portion of her property. Sadie didn’t have a choice. That’s how condemnation works.
“I wasn’t happy,” Sadie said. “And I was confused. I knew it wasn’t worth a tremendous amount, but who knows what might happen to the land in the future? Honestly, I had no idea what to do.”
An attorney she knew recommended the NC Eminent Domain Law Firm.
“I got hold of Stan Abrams,” she said, “and I’m telling you: he was so reassuring. He explained everything to me. I don’t know the law. He does. He was personable and zeroed right in on all the things that needed to be done, and when they needed to be done.”
Our law firm’s experience
Abrams used to work as an attorney on eminent domain cases for the state. He researched Sadie’s property and the area extensively, saw what was possible and what was fair. He developed a theory and began negotiating with the state and its attorneys.
Abrams realized that a good portion of the land parcels being affected, Sadie’s and others, could be used for future development. He argued that because Progress Energy would have to grant permission for a road to go through certain parts of the property, Sadie needed to be compensated properly now. Why? Because there was no guarantee to Sadie that Progress Energy would ever give such written permission.
“Stan just determined what I deserved,” Sadie said.
Abrams and the NC Eminent Domain Law Firm were able to secure an offer more than ten times the company’s original, very low offer.
“You bet I was happy,” Sadie said. “He took care of me and my situation. I would tell anyone to call the NC Eminent Domain Law Firm. This property is an important part of my life. I am so grateful to Stan and the law firm for helping me.”