Sullivan, Workman & Dee, LLP traces its involvement in California eminent domain law to the 1950s. After practicing eminent domain law as a staff attorney for Pacific Electric for five years,Roger M. Sullivan formed a private law firm in downtown Los Angeles in 1957 to help private property owners protect their property interests from government intrusion and obtain just compensation. Henry K. Workman, who had practiced eminent domain law as a deputy attorney general for the State of California, joined the firm in 1960. In 1970, John J. Dee, a former Caltrans right-of-way agent before graduating from law school, joined the firm. The firm’s current senior eminent domain attorneys – Charles D. Cummings and Gary A. Kovacic – joined the firm in 1974 and 1976, respectively.
Since its inception, Sullivan, Workman & Dee, LLP has been dedicated to protecting private property rights and seeking greater compensation for property and business owners threatened with an eminent domain situation. For over 55 years, our attorneys have handled thousands of eminent domain and inverse condemnation matters resulting in jury verdicts and settlements that have provided our clients with hundreds of millions of dollars in just compensation. For example, the firm represented the last private land owner on Santa Cruz Island when the federal government sued to acquire the land for the Channel Islands National Park. When the government offered only $4.25 million, the firm obtained a jury award of $12.782 million, plus an additional $1.5 million in interest.* Recently, in 2013, the firm obtained a jury verdict of $3,435,904 in Los Angeles County Superior Court ($3,300,904 more than the City’s appraisal) that forced the City to abandon its attempted acquisition of a privately-owned median strip in a public street, and, in 2014, a verdict of $1,318,000 in Madera County Superior Court for the taking of access and septic easements for which Caltrans had initially offered our clients $0.*
Sullivan, Workman & Dee, LLP represents private property and business owners and select public entities in eminent domain and inverse condemnation actions in both state and federal courts throughout California. The firm also continues its tradition of supporting the advancement of eminent domain law and the pursuit of just compensation, with contributions by its partners to Nichols on Eminent Domain, the nation’s leading treatise on eminent domain law, and submission of amicus curiae briefs in cutting-edge eminent domain cases such as Metropolitan Water District of Southern California v. Campus Crusade for Christ, Inc. (2007) 41 Cal.4th 954 and Los Angeles Unified School District v. Pulgarin (2009) 175 Cal.App.4th 101. The partners also serve as featured speakers at many state and national conferences concerning eminent domain law including the annual CLE International Eminent Domain Conference, the International Association of Assessing Officers [Los Angeles Chapter] Spring Appraisal Seminar, and the International Right-of-Way Association [Chapter 1] Annual Valuation Seminar.
In addition to eminent domain law, attorneys at Sullivan, Workman & Dee, LLP’s practice in distinct areas of the law that include estate planning and probate litigation, real property transactions and litigation, corporate transactions and litigation, employment discrimination and wrongful termination, and entertainment law. For example, the firm successfully argued the case of Stewart v. Seward(2007) 148 Cal.App.4th 1513, which firmly established the scope of the statute of limitations on creditor’s claims against a decedent’s estate under Code of Civil Procedure § 366.3.* The firm also regularly litigates a variety of claims for wrongful termination under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act and breach of contract in matters ranging from real estate transactions to royalties contracts.