Joseph P. Suntum

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
Licensed Since: 1982
Practice Areas:
  • Eminent Domain (90%),
  • Appellate (10%)
Attorney Profile

Joseph P. Suntum is principal in the firm and the Firm’s Litigation Group Leader. Mr. Suntum focusses his practice in eminent domain and condemnation. 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.  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. He presently heads the firm's eminent domain trial practice group. 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

  • Opening Statements in Eminent Domain Cases (2013) - Legal, procedural and strategic issues in opening statements in eminent doamin trials.

  • Direct Examination of a Valuation Witness (2009) - Keys to an conducting an effective direct examination of an appraiser in a condemnation trial.

  • Taking Your Condemnation Case to the Next Level (2008) - Winning ideas and best practices for preparing and trying a condemnation case before a jury.

  • How to Successfully Settle a Condemnation Case (2007) - How to effectively advocate for full compensation is settlement negotiations and mediation venues.

  • Preparing Your Condemnation Case (2007) - How to obtain more compensation than the condemnor's offer.

  • Pre-Condemnation Planning - The importance of pre-condemnation planning to maximizing just compensation.

  • Owners' Handbook - The Condemnation process and Just Compensation in the State Courts of Maryland

  • Trial Issues in a Condemnation Case - Discussion of strategic issues that regularly occur in a condemnation trial

  • About Joseph Suntum

    Admitted: 1982, Maryland

    Professional Webpage: http://www.millermillercanby.com/vcards/Joseph-P-Suntum-BIO....

    Honors/Awards:

    • 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., http://www.ownerscounsel.com/, 2012

    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 has served on the Character Committee of the Court of Appeals of Maryland (1992-1997).

    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).

    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.

    Verdicts/Settlements:

    • 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
    • State Highway Administration v. Landfair Properties, LLC, Civil No. CAL11-37734. Condemnation Action (Offer: $2,300,000; Settlement: $12,500,000), 2013
    • Montgomery County, Maryland v. Wilgus Associates, Civil No. 325597-V, Condemnation Action (Original offer $4,819,000; Settlement: $9,669,000), 2011
    • Montgomery County v. Jack F. Poole, Civil No. 334945-V, Condemnation Trial (Offer: $74,650; Inquisition: $225,000), 2011
    • Appellate Decision: Boland v. Boland, 423 Md. 296 (2011) (Shareholder derivative litigation Special Litigation Committees), 2011
    • 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. Bertrand T. Fang, Civil No. 295600-V:  Condemnation Action (Offer $1,483,750; Agreed Inquisition: $3,698,000), 2009
    • 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. Frederick Dunn, Civil No. 23395-M. Condemnation Action (Offer: $704,200; Settlement: $1,056,300), 2008
    • 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 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. Donald E. McNeill, Civil No. 283022-V. Condemnation Action (Offer: $2,700,000; Settlement: $3,825,000), 2007
    • SHA v. Southern Asis Adventist Association, Civil No. 281607-V, Condemnation Action (Original Offer $2,150,000; Settlement: $3,375,000), 2007
    • Montgomery County, Maryland v. Montrose Medical Associates, Civil No. 259921-V, Condemnation Action (Original Offer $1,162,800; Settlement: $4,500,000), 2006
    • Appellate Decision: 8621 Ltd. Partnership v. LDG, Inc., 169 Md. App. 214 (2006) (Specific enforcement of joint venture agreement), 2006
    • SHA v. Karen Leach, Trustee, Civil No. 238305, Condemnation Trial (Offer: $231,950; Inquisition: $723,751), 2003
    • 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
    • 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: Buxton v. Buxton, 363 Md. 634 (2001) (Fiduciary duty of guardians, Laches), 2001
    • 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
    • Cecilia Defries v. Santos, Civil No. 132068, successful trial of claim to extinguish covenants on real property, 2000
    • Hassler v. Sutton, successful defense of defamation claim (Claim dismissed by plaintiff during trial.), 1999
    • Lowell Baier v. First American Bank, Civil No. 82434, Lender Liability, successful prosecution of Motion for New Trial to overturn $10 million judgment, 1999
    • DGA Associates v. Cory Schupp, Specific Enforcement of Partnership Agreement, 1998
    • 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
    • State Highway Administration v. Harding, Civil No. 133036, condemnation trial, 1996
    • Appellate Decision: Schochet v. State, 320 Md. 714 (1990) (Constitutional right to privacy), 1990
    • Clemenceau v. Cardiotech International, Civil No. 150076, successful defense of Breach of Employment Contract claim 
    • Park Avenue Associates v. Peter Davis, successful trial of Breach of Commercial Lease
    • The Korth Companies, Inc. v. Material Culture, Construction arbitration
    • Zeltman v. Yingling, plaintiff personal injury trial
    • Appellate Decision: State v. Tichnell, 306 Md. 428 (1986) (death penalty post-conviction litigation)
    • Appellate Decision: State v. Calhoun, 306 Md. 692 (1986) (death penalty post-conviction litigation)
    • Appellate Decision: Golub v. Cohen, 138 Md. App. 508 (2001) (Specific enforcement of settlement agreement)
    • Appellate Decision: Lasater v. Guttmann, 194 Md. App. 431 (2010) (Conversion Intentional infliction of emotional distress)
    • State v. Chester Mowell, successful defense of First Degree Murder charge - Not Guilty
    • Virginia Pope v. Robert Pope, Declaratory judgment to determine ownership of real property

    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 enjoying the challenges of sailing and touring National Parks via ultra marathon running.

    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.

    Industry Groups

    • Eminent Domain
    Office Location for Joseph P. Suntum

    200-B Monroe Street
    Rockville, MD 20850

    Joseph P. Suntum:

    Last Updated: 12/9/2016

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