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Joseph P. Suntum

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Eminent Domain Attorney in Rockville, MD

Miller, Miller & Canby, Chartered
200-B Monroe Street
Rockville, MD 20850
Phone: 301-762-5212
Fax: 301-762-6044
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2007 - 2010, 2013, 2022 - 2023
Licensed in Maryland Since: 1982
Practice Areas: Eminent Domain, Appellate
Attorney Profile

Joseph P. Suntum is the firm's Eminent Domain and Condemnation practice group leader. His decades of trial experience and his in-depth knowledge of real property valuation and the law of eminent domain allow him to protect his clients' property rights and maximize their compensation when their properties are targeted for condemnation.

Mr. Suntum is a rare trial lawyer who has successfully tried both murder cases and multi-million dollar civil actions. He has also successfully argued numerous appeals before the Maryland courts of appeal.  Mr. Suntum is the Owners' Counsel of America member attorney for the State of Maryland and Chaired the Owners' Counsel's Board of Directors 2020-2021.  The Owners' Counsel of America (www.ownerscounsel.com ) is a national network of experienced condemnation attorneys who represent property owners against Federal, state and local governments. Membership in the Owners' Counsel is selective and restricted to one member attorney per state.

Mr. Suntum joined the firm in 1988, and has been a principal in the firm since 1994. He served as managing partner of the Firm from 1997 to 2008. Before joining Miller, Miller & Canby he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Elsbeth Levy Bothe in Circuit Court for Baltimore City, and served as an Assistant Public Defender for Montgomery County for four years where he first earned his reputation as an outstanding trial advocate.

Quality legal representation requires the trial advocate not only to apply exceptional analytical and trial advocacy skills to the case, but also be able to coordinate the many resources of the client, witnesses, and expert consultants into a cohesive and ultimately persuasive team. Mr. Suntum works closely with his clients to identify and fully understand their goals.  He uses all available tools in pursuit of a successful result for his clients as efficiently and economically as the case permits, including the latest in courtroom technology to most persuasively present his clients' cases.

The trial of condemnation actions requires full knowledge of the substantive issues concerning land valuation, as well as the unique procedural rules applicable to such matters. Mr. Suntum’s knowledge in this area permits him to work effectively with experts such as appraisers, land planners, brokers, developers and others to maximize the compensation paid to his clients for property taken by governmental agencies.

In addition to eminent domain, Mr. Suntum accepts select commercial litigation matters requiring advanced strategic and trial skills.

White Papers

About Joseph P. Suntum

First Admitted: 1982, Maryland

Professional Webpage: http://www.millermillercanby.com/attorney_detail.cfm

Scholarly Lectures/Writings

  • Mr. Suntum lectures regularly on litigation and eminent domain and condemnation topics for various continuing legal education organizations, including Lorman Educational Services,  the American Law Institute Continuing Legal Education (ALI-CLE) and the Bar Association for Montgomery County.

Other Outstanding Achievements

  • Mr. Suntum is an avid outdoorsman and successfully climbed Denali via the upper West Rib in June 2007.  He has traveled the world to climb "big mountains" and is currently enjoys running in the woods with his canine companions.

Representative Clients

  • We represent owners of all types of real property subject to condemnation by eminent domain, including single family residential, apartments, condominiums, shopping centers, grocery stores, office buildings, warehouses, storage facilities, vacant land, and farms.

Bar/Professional Activity

  • Mr. Suntum is admitted to practice in all State and Federal courts in Maryland. He is a member of the American Bar Association, the Maryland State Bar Association, and the Bar Association of Montgomery County (Secretary, 1995-1996; Executive Committee 1997-1999).   He served on the Character Committee of the Court of Appeals of Maryland (1992-1997).

Educational Background

  • Mr. Suntum obtained his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Maryland in 1982. His undergraduate studies were at the University of Maryland, Bachelor of Arts, Government and Politics, 1979, and the University of Montana, Major Wildlife Biology, 1975 1977. Mr. Suntum graduated from Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Maryland in 1975.

Pro bono/Community Service

  • Mr. Suntum has served on the Character Committee of the Court of Appeals of Maryland (1992-1997). He served on the Board of Directors of Montgomery General Hospital (2003 to 2009) and the Board of Directors of the Montgomery County Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of the Bar Association of Montgomery County (2005 to 2009).

Verdicts/Settlements

  • Appellate Decision: Schochet v. State, 320 Md. 714 (1990) (Constitutional right to privacy), 1990
  • State Roads Commission v. First Top of the Hill; Prince George's County Circuit Court; Condemnation; Original offer $62,885; Settlement $125,000, 2022
  • State Roads Commission v. Washington Diocese; Montgomery County Circuit Court; Condemnation; Original offer $402,780; Settlement $776,000, 2021
  • State Roads Commission v. Bank of America; Condemnation; Prince George's County Circuit Court; Original offer $322,000; Final Award $891,341 , 2022
  • WMATA v. Knickerbocker Associates; Condemnation; U.S. District Court; Original Offer $41,000,000; Settlement $48,000,000., 2021
  • WMATA v. Prince George's County Development Associates, LLC; condemnation; U.S. Distict Court; Original offer $8,000,000; Settlement $9,000,000, 2021
  • State Roads Commission v. Marriott International Administrative Services, Inc., Circuit Court for Frederick County (Eminent Domain: Offer $ 1,473,900; Agreed Inquisition: $2,240,000), 2018
  • State Roads Commission v. Campanaro Properties, LLC, Circuit Court for Montgomery County (Eminent Domain: Offer: $1,562,850; Agreed Inquisition $2,900,000), 2020
  • State Roads Commission v. Eton Centers Co., LLC, Circuit Court for Montgomery County (Eminent Domain: Offer $359,600; Settlement: $2,486,387) , 2018
  • State Roads Commission v. Brookside Park Condominiums, Inc., Circuit Court for Prince George's County (Eminent Domain: Initial offer $425,500; Agreed Inquisition $3,500,000), 2019
  • WMATA v. Prince George's Development Associates, LLC, U.S. District Court (Eminent Domain: Initial Offer $8,000,000; Settlement $9,000,000) , 2021
  • WAMATA v. Knickerbocker Properties, Inc. XI,  Case No. 8:20-cv-2165 U.S. District Court, (Eminent Domain - Initial Offer $40,000,000; Settlement $49,000,000), 2021
  • Maryland Transit Administration v. Round Hill Apartments, LLC, Circuit Court for Montgomery County (Eminent Domain: Initial offer: $175,550; Agreed Inquisition: $1,845,350), 2018
  • Montgomery County v. John G. Grimberg Trust, Civil No. 297479-V, Condemnation Trial (Offer: $1,725,000 - Inquisition: $2,225,000), 2009
  • State Roads Commission v. Bertrand T. Fang, Civil No. 295600-V:  Condemnation Action (Offer $1,483,750; Agreed Inquisition: $3,698,000), 2009
  • State Roads Commission v. Anne M. Willson, Civil No. 285025-V: Condemnation Action (Offer: $3,750,000; Agreed Inquisition: $4,650,000), 2008
  • State Roads Commission v. Frederick Dunn, Civil No. 23395-M. Condemnation Action (Offer: $704,200; Settlement: $1,056,300), 2008
  • State Roads Commission v. Donald E. McNeill, Civil No. 283022-V. Condemnation Action (Offer: $2,700,000; Settlement: $3,825,000), 2007
  • Montgomery County, Maryland v. Oakmont Limited Partnership, Civil No. 330053-V.  Condemnation Action (Offer: $1,600,000; Settlement: $4,390,000), 2010
  • State Roads Commission v. Interdenominational Church of God, Civil Nos. 22265-M and 22226-M Condemnation Action (Offer: $147,850; Settlement: $737,727), 2008
  • State Highway Administration v. Landfair Properties, LLC, Civil No. CAL11-37734. Condemnation Action (Offer: $2,300,000; Settlement: $12,500,000), 2013
  • Montgomery County Board of Education v. Jean K. Phiilips, Trustee, et. al., Civil No. 364708-V.  Condemnation Action (Offer: $2,300,000; Agreed Inquisition: $4,142,500), 2013
  • Appellate Decision: Boland v. Boland, 423 Md. 296 (2011) (Shareholder derivative litigation Special Litigation Committees), 2011
  • Appellate Decision: Lasater v. Guttmann, 194 Md. App. 431 (2010) (Conversion Intentional infliction of emotional distress), 2010
  • Circuit City Supperstores v. Rockville Pike Joint Venture, Civil No. 182973:  successful trial of $2 million breach of commercial lease (Affirmed on appeal: Circuit City Stores, Inc. v. Rockville Pike Joint Venture Ltd. Partnership, 376 Md. 331 (2003)), 2001
  • Appellate Decision: Circuit City Stores, Inc. v. Rockville Pike Joint Venture Ltd. Partnership, 376 Md. 331 (2003) (Commercial landlord-tenant Surrender of lease Breach of contract Reasonable rejection of sublease), 2003
  • Appellate Decision: 8621 Ltd. Partnership v. LDG, Inc., 169 Md. App. 214 (2006) (Specific enforcement of joint venture agreement), 2006
  • Marla Bliecher v. Carolyn Literati, Civil No. 143005, successful trial of Will Caveat action (undue influence) to save $2 million estate for decedent's children, 1997
  • Appellate Decision: Golub v. Cohen, 138 Md. App. 508 (2001) (Specific enforcement of settlement agreement), 2001
  • Appellate Decision: Buxton v. Buxton, 363 Md. 634 (2001) (Fiduciary duty of guardians, Laches), 2001
  • Lowell Baier v. First American Bank, Civil No. 82434, Lender Liability, successful prosecution of Motion for New Trial to overturn $10 million judgment, 1999
  • Cecilia Defries v. Santos, Civil No. 132068, successful trial of claim to extinguish covenants on real property, 2000
  • State Highway Administration v. Harding, Civil No. 133036, condemnation trial, 1996
  • Virginia Pope v. Robert Pope, Declaratory judgment to determine ownership of real property
  • Zeltman v. Yingling, plaintiff personal injury trial
  • Park Avenue Associates v. Peter Davis, successful trial of Breach of Commercial Lease
  • DGA Associates v. Cory Schupp, Specific Enforcement of Partnership Agreement, 1998
  • Hassler v. Sutton, successful defense of defamation claim (Claim dismissed by plaintiff during trial.), 1999
  • The Korth Companies, Inc. v. Material Culture, Construction arbitration
  • Schettino, et. al, v. Modanlo, Civil No 220156, Shareholder derivative action against corporate President, $6.3 million judgment for fraud and misapproriation of corporate assets, 2003
  • Appellate Decision: State v. Calhoun, 306 Md. 692 (1986) (death penalty post-conviction litigation)
  • State v. Chester Mowell, successful defense of First Degree Murder charge - Not Guilty
  • Clemenceau v. Cardiotech International, Civil No. 150076, successful defense of Breach of Employment Contract claim 
  • Appellate Decision: State v. Tichnell, 306 Md. 428 (1986) (death penalty post-conviction litigation)
  • SHA v. Karen Leach, Trustee, Civil No. 238305, Condemnation Trial (Offer: $231,950; Inquisition: $723,751), 2003
  • Montgomery County v. Jack F. Poole, Civil No. 334945-V, Condemnation Trial (Offer: $74,650; Inquisition: $225,000), 2011
  • Montgomery County, Maryland v. Wilgus Associates, Civil No. 325597-V, Condemnation Action (Original offer $4,819,000; Settlement: $9,669,000), 2011
  • Montgomery County, Maryland v. Montrose Medical Associates, Civil No. 259921-V, Condemnation Action (Original Offer $1,162,800; Settlement: $4,500,000), 2006
  • SHA v. Southern Asis Adventist Association, Civil No. 281607-V, Condemnation Action (Original Offer $2,150,000; Settlement: $3,375,000), 2007

Honors/Awards

  • Fellow: Litigation Counsel of America. The Litigation Counsel of America is a trial lawyer honorary society whose membership is limited to less than one-half of one percent of North American lawyers, judges and scholars. Membership in the LCA is highly selective and by invitation only. Fellows are selected based upon excellence and accomplishment in litigation, both at the trial and appellate levels, and superior ethical reputation., Fellow: Litigation Counsel of America, https://www.litcounsel.org/, 2022
  • Maryland State Attorney in Owners Counsel of America. Owners Counsel of America is a nationwide association of experienced eminent domain attorneys.  Membership is limited to one member attorney per State. Served as Chair of the Board of Directors 2019-2021., Chair, Owners' Counsel of America Board of Directors, http://www.ownerscounsel.com/, 2021

Industry Groups

  • Eminent Domain
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Office Location for Joseph P. Suntum

200-B Monroe Street
Rockville, MD 20850

Last Updated: 8/17/2022

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