Charles is a board-certified civil trial lawyer and primarily represents property owners in securing just compensation when government takes private property for public use. While his experience has included takings projects for highway expansion, pipelines, electric transmission lines, and flood control, Charles’s principal practice is focused on highway and roadway widening projects impacting retail, commercial, and industrial uses.
Charles has obtained successful special commissioners’ awards, jury verdicts, settlements, and judgments for clients in condemnation cases across the State, including Harris County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, Waller County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Williamson County, Dallas County, Matagorda County, Wharton County, Angelina County, Austin County, San Jacinto County, Titus County, Presidio County, and Val Verde County.
Charles’s business acumen and legal ability is well-regarded in legal community, as exemplified by his selection by peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® and Texas Super Lawyers in the practice area of Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law. Charles has the AV Preeminent Rating, Martindale-Hubbell’s highest possible rating for both ethical standards and legal ability.
He has handled appeals of condemnation cases and other matters in the First, Fourth, Sixth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Thirteenth, and Fourteenth Courts of Appeals and in the Texas Supreme Court. Charles was formerly a partner in the Condemnation and Land Use Litigation practice group of Vinson & Elkins LLP.
He has been board certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Civil Trial Law since 2003.
ETC NGL Transport, LLC v. Occidental Chemical Corp. — Pipeline condemnation case in which ETC NGL alleged common carrier status and sought to condemn an easement within OxyChem's pipeline corridor from the ship channel to Mont Belvieu. On behalf of OxyChem, Charles obtained a temporary restraining order and subsequent temporary injunction preventing ETC NGL from acquiring the easement.
State of Texas v. Target Corporation — Statutory condemnation case in which the State took a narrow strip of land along Target's Texas Avenue frontage in College Station, Texas. The taking resulted in the loss of approximately 30 parking spaces. Because the impacted spaces were the furthest from the store and because the property would still be in regulatory compliance with city parking requirements, the State's appraiser discounted the impact of the loss of these spaces, concluding compensation of $299,000. Representing Target, Charles argued for 100% of the capitalized value of the parking spaces' proportionate contribution to the property's net operating income based on evidence showing that the market demanded more parking than was required under the city ordinances. The jury returned a verdict for $682,000, the full amount of compensation requested by Target.
State of Texas v. Davis Holdings LLC — On behalf of the property owner, Charles obtained an award and subsequent settlement of statutory condemnation case for over $2 million for property improved with an automotive retail building.
State of Texas v. Valley Ranch Town Center, Ltd. — Valley Ranch owned a 500-acre tract of land that was planned to be the commercial component of its 1400-acre master planned community in southeast Montgomery County. The State bisected the 500 acres with a 70-acre taking for its extension of the Grand Parkway from US 290 to US 59 and argued that its project gave the property a development potential that did not exist before the taking. The landowner contended that the potential was there before the taking and that the State should not be permitted to benefit from the deterrent effect the proposal of its project had on the landowner's ability to move forward with its development. A jury agreed, returning one of the largest verdicts ever received in a Texas condemnation case.
State of Texas v. East Montgomery County Improvement District — Jury trial of a partial takings case involving the bisection of the campus headquarters of a statutory improvement district, resulting in a substantial loss of parking. The State argued that the loss in parking could be cured without damages resulting to the contributory value of the building improvements. A jury disagreed and returned a verdict of $4,000,000, including $2,000,000 in damages to the contributory value of the building improvements.