Real Estate

Real Estate & Land Use Litigation

Stites & Harbison attorneys regularly serve clients in local and regional matters ranging from foreclosure and mechanics liens to federal relocation law. Our litigators have developed particularly strong practices in eminent domain, land title defense, planning and zoning, and litigation involving the preservation of historic properties.


  • Martingale, LLC v. City of Louisville, 361 F.3d 297 (6th Cir. 2004), petition for reh'r denied, 2004 U.S. App. LEXIS 7789 (6th Cir. 2004), cert. denied, 125 S. Ct. 453 (2004) and 151 S.W.3d 829 (Ky. App. 2004), motion for discretionary review denied, 2005 Ky. LEXIS 106 (Ky. 2005), cert. denied, 543 U.S. 955 (2005). In a case that could give rise to multiple law-school exam questions, our firm successfully represented the City of Louisville concerning its right to condemn a bridge (or at least the portion thereof which sits in Kentucky) which spans the Ohio River, but which connects to neither Kentucky nor Indiana. After prevailing regarding the City's right to condemn in state court and successfully defeating a federal action challenging the City's right to condemn, the City prevailed in the Kentucky Court of Appeals and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit – in addition to successfully defending against a motion for discretionary review to the Kentucky Supreme Court, a petition for rehearing to the 6th Circuit, and two petitions for certiorari to the United States Supreme Court. Our firm is currently representing the City in the valuation portion of the condemnation proceeding.
  • The expansion of Louisville International Airport. Stites & Harbison has represented the Louisville Regional Airport Authority in an expansion that required the acquisition of three residential neighborhoods and more than 100 parcels of business real estate. Our Real Estate and Land Use Litigation Team participated in all phases of these acquisitions, including trials establishing the fair market value of properties that could not be acquired voluntarily. Team members were also responsible for all litigation involving the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Act. Notable representations on this project include:
  • Welding & Therapy Service, Inc. v. Regional Airport Authority of Louisville and Jefferson County and James DeLong, General Manager, U.S. District Court, W.D. Ky. Welding & Therapy filed a complaint seeking review, pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act, of the Airport Authority's determination regarding Welding & Therapy's claim for reimbursement under the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act for expenses allegedly arising out of the Authority's acquisition of a portion of Welding & Therapy's property in connection with the Louisville Airport Improvement Program. Welding and Therapy's complaint also made a Section 1983 claim, alleging the Authority deprived Welding & Therapy of "... its rights under federal law." The Authority obtained dismissal of the Section 1983 count in 2003 and judgment on the Administrative Procedures Act claim in 2004.
  • Condemnation Actions. The firm recently succeeded in resolving one a condemnation action such matter in which our client received $1.2 million as compensation for the loss of business property the state had valued at $175,000.
  • Land Title Defense. Our firm represents title insurance companies in defending their insureds on a regional basis. Recent cases include:
    • Attempted recovery of over $2 million lost due to the loan fraud committed by a closing agent.
    • Resolved a number of claims of loan fraud involving a closing agent who improperly recorded documents, forged commitments and committed large scale fraud on the lender involved and on the title insurer.
    • Represented financial institutions in resolving issues of the priority of various liens in foreclosure actions, to enforce subordination agreements and to determine the interests of title holders when an ownership interest is not properly determined at a closing.
  • Planning and Zoning. The firm represents a wide range of clients in planning and zoning matters throughout its practice area. In addition to representing developers and property owners, team members also represent organizations, citizens’ groups, and individuals interested in "smart growth" issues.
  • Foreclosure. In conjunction with attorneys from our Creditors' Rights and Real Estate Practice groups, we represent lenders in foreclosure actions throughout the region. Typical situations have involved shopping centers, hotels, apartment complexes, and office buildings.
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Press Releases

Benchmark Litigation Selects Stites & Harbison as 2024 Litigation Firm of the Year for Kentucky

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Benchmark Litigation recently named Stites & Harbison, PLLC as Litigation Firm of the Year for Kentucky at its 2024 Benchmark US Awards Gala. This is the fourth time Stites & Harbison has received the honor.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC April 03, 2024
Press Releases

Thad Barnes and Michael Denbow Appointed to Lead Stites & Harbison’s Business Litigation Service Group

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Stites & Harbison, PLLC is pleased to announce that attorneys Thad M. Barnes and Michael Denbow have been appointed to Co-Chair the firm’s Business Litigation Service Group. Each attorney will continue their diverse legal practices in business litigation.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC March 25, 2024