Condemnation / Eminent Domain
Land Use / Zoning
Property Tax and Property Valuation
Real Estate Litigation
William Mitchell College of Law, summa cum laude, J.D., 2000
Columbia University, M.A., International Affairs, 1987
Concordia College, magna cum laude, B.A., 1985
U.S. District Court for the District of
Law Clerk, Justice Edward Stringer and Chief Justice Russel Anderson, Minnesota Supreme Court (2000–2001)
Stuart Alger, Partner
Stuart Alger possesses extensive experience in the areas of eminent domain, land use, property tax, special assessments, and real estate litigation. He began his land use career at the Attorney General’s office and brings this unique perspective to his clients’ cases. Combining his understanding of government process with his client’s side allows him to serve his clients better and maximize the results in their cases. His career has allowed him to work on notable cases such as the Twins Ball Park land acquisition, the Blue and Green light rail projects, CapX2020 HVTL project, and the Enbridge Pipeline Route Permitting matter. Because of his depth of knowledge and reputation among his peers, he often lectures on eminent domain matters.
Highway and Road Projects. The number of people and businesses affected each year by highway and road construction/expansion projects is immense. Mr. Alger has had the privilege of representing many clients in some of the major and minor projects around the State. Sometimes clients have their entire properties taken, but most often only part of their land is taken, leaving it damaged and less valuable. Many of the partial takings result in diminished access, which by law must be compensated. A noteworthy case is, Nicollet County v. Timm Farms, et al., Nicollet County District Court File No. 52-CV -10-260, where Mr. Alger represented landowners against Nicollet County, which took property for a major highway construction project. The awards obtained for all owners was in excess of the County's estimate of damages, including an award for one owner of $1.28 million, which was nearly $500,000 more than the County's estimate of damages. This is just one example of many of the outstanding awards his clients have achieved.
Rail Projects. Mr. Alger has represented and represents clients whose properties were taken or damaged in the Metro-area light rail projects, including the Central Corridor, Southwest Corridor, and Bottineau projects. In Minnesota Department of Transportation v. Hellervik, LLC, Ramsey County District Court File No. 62-CV-1l677, he represented ground lessor of property used for a large distribution warehouse in St. Paul against the Minnesota Department of Transportation, which took part of the property for the Central Corridor Light Rail line and a traction power substation. After commissioners’ hearings, an award was obtained of more than 40% greater than MnDOT's last written offer, and attorney’s fees and litigation expenses were successfully recovered.
Utility Corridor and CapX2020 cases. Utility corridor cases often present unique, property-specific issues relating to the impact of the easement rights taken, and sometimes entail exercising the client’s rights to invoke the “buy the farm” law. Mr. Alger has represented many clients affected by the CapX2020 (Xcel Energy) and other high voltage transmission line projects; both full and partial takings cases. He obtained awards ranging from over two to nine times greater than the utilities' estimate of damages. He successfully litigated “buy the farm” claims for clients, including an argument in the Court of Appeals over the owner's entitlement to recover attorney fees and litigation expenses.
“Inverse” Condemnation. Mr. Alger has represented clients who have claimed that their property was taken, destroyed, or damaged as a result of governmental action, even when the government maintains that it did not intend to take the property. In Freeway Transfer, Inc. v. Minnesota Department of Transportation, Dakota County District Court File No. 19HACV-09-2749, the Minnesota Department of Transportation planned to close an access to an owner's property for an interstate highway project in Dakota County. Mr. Alger was part of the team that successfully argued that the access closure resulted in a taking, resulting in an agreement whereby the access remained open and the owner recovered attorneys’ fees and litigation expenses.
LAND USE/ZONING AND ENTITLEMENTS
Clients seeking a variety of entitlements for development, including conditional use permits, rezoning approvals, and variances can count on Mr. Alger’s experience to achieve their goals. He has defended clients against municipal regulatory actions, and has successfully defended clients against objections raised against development approval requests. For example, he successfully fended off an effort brought by a competitor apartment owner to stop a student housing development construction project in Minneapolis.
PROPERTY TAX APPEALS
Mr. Alger has helped many clients reduce their property tax burden, often through negotiated settlements. For example, he represented a major hotel and condominium in downtown Minneapolis seeking to reduce taxes on dozens of parcels located in the condominiumized elements of the building.
Special assessments can be very costly to people. Mr. Alger has worked with multiple clients to reduce or eliminate special assessments. Recently, for example, he successfully assisted several owners who were facing assessments over road overlay and a utility project that did not specially benefit their properties.
REAL ESTATE LITIGATION
Stuart has successfully represented many clients in disputes over boundaries, fence lines, quiet title matters, partition matters, easement disputes (including access and dockage rights for lakeshore property), foreclosure, eviction, and other real estate matters. Most recently he was able to obtain a judgment for a housing developer client dismissing objections raised by a neighbor over the scope of certain easement rights.
Member, Hennepin County Bar Association (Past Chair, Eminent Domain Section) and the Minnesota State Bar Association.
Member and Treasurer, Minnesota Eminent Domain Institute. (An organization of attorneys dedicated to the representation of property owners in eminent domain matters.)
Member, Sensible Land Use Coalition.
Mr. Alger is a frequent speaker on condemnation issues to attorney and other professional groups. (612) 455-6644 Stuart.Alger@mgmllp.com
Co-author (with Steven Mayeron), "Adverse Possession and Practical Location of Boundaries," Real Estate Law, Minnesota Practice Series (Volume 25).
Lecturer, “Hot Topics in Eminent Domain”, The 2019 Conference on Eminent Domain Practice in Minnesota, Minnesota CLE, April 18, 2019.
Lecturer, “Access Issues in Eminent Domain – When Does Your Client Have a Claim?” 2017 Real Estate Institute, Minnesota CLE, November 3, 2017.
Lecturer, “Access Law in Minnesota,” Hennepin County Bar Association, Eminent Domain Section, June 30, 2016.
Lecturer, "Condemnation and Special Assessment," Hennepin County Bar Association, May 27, 2009.
Lecturer, "Construction-Related Interference," Hennepin County Bar Association, May 6, 2011.
Lecturer, "Eminent Domain," North Star Chapter of the Appraisal Institute, April 23, 2013.
Lecturer, "Easements: Property Rights in the Easement Area Do Matter," Hennepin County Bar Association, June 7, 2013.
Lecturer, "CapX2020 Issues Panel," Hennepin County Bar Association, June 26, 2014.
Lecturer, "Discovery in Eminent Domain Cases," Hennepin County Bar Association, February 12, 2015.
Other MGM Attorneys
Thomas DeVincke - Bradley Gunn - Bruce Malkerson - Kathleen Martin - Michael Putnam
Gregory Soule - Rod Krass - Patrick Steinhoff