Matthew W. FellerhoffShareholder
Matt Fellerhoff advocates for clients in public controversies and property rights matters, including inverse condemnation suits, land use and zoning proceedings, eminent domain and real estate development.
He has successfully tried numerous eminent domain “right to take” cases on behalf of property owners, preventing local agencies from taking their property. Matt also has extensive experience in eminent domain valuation cases.
He has participated in and litigated local and federal environmental and historic preservation matters, including NEPA, Section 106 and Section 4(f) proceedings. He has represented numerous property owners, developers, community groups and others in actions before local zoning boards and subsequently in court on issues of zoning approvals, variances and special exemptions related to the use of property. He has negotiated development agreements.
Matt joined Strauss Troy after serving as a Municipal Court judge in Hamilton County, Ohio. Prior to his public service, he practiced law for 16 years, and established himself as a leader in the areas of litigation, complex land use matters, local government, eminent domain, property rights and employment law.
He served as long-time law director for the Villages of Moscow and Woodlawn, Ohio, and has represented numerous other units of local government in Ohio, assisting in employment matters, annexations, constitutional issues and assisting in writing village charters under Ohio law. He has also represented many local private fire departments and public school districts.
- Northern Kentucky University Salmon P. Chase College of Law (J.D.)
- Miami University (B.A.)
- Defended a self-storage facility owner in an eminent domain action against the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT). The project destroyed the self-storage business. ODOT initially deposited $557,945.00 as compensation for the property. Ultimately settlement was negotiated with a payment of $1,500,000 for the property.
- Represented regional Gas and Electric utility against the City of Cincinnati over responsibility for the costs of relocating utilities in the City right-of-way to make way for the City’s streetcar project. The First District Court of Appeals ruled that the City was responsible for the cost (approximately $15,000,000) of the relocation. Duke Energy Ohio, Inc. v. City of Cincinnati ( 1st Dist. 2015) 2015-Ohio-4844
- Defended a property owner against an eminent domain action brought by Hamilton County in Anderson Township. The County offered $175,845.00 for compensation and damages for a road widening for a turn lane which destroyed the entire front of a property leased to an IHOP restaurant. The case was settled with an ultimate payment of $1,000,000 to the owner.
- Represented a developer and obtained damages award for a violation of a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Service Agreement with the City of Cincinnati. Mr. Fellerhoff also litigated an ancillary taxpayer’s action resulting in the City being ordered to return $4,000,000 to specific TIF accounts, benefitting individual city neighborhoods and the award of attorneys’ fees. Hyde Park Circle LLC v. City of Cincinnati (1st Dist. 2016) 2016-Ohio-3130, 66 N.E.2d 99
- Defended a family whose home was depicted on Hamilton County, Ohio plans to remain in the area surrounded by a four lane highway and the newly constructed exit ramp. The County offered the family $10,250.00. Mr. Fellerhoff negotiated the ultimate sale of the property for $295,266.05.
- Defended a property owner in an eminent domain case in Belmont County, Ohio. The property was cut in two by a new access road. The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) initially deposited $9,535.00 with the Court as its estimate of the value of the property. Mr. Fellerhoff negotiated a resolution with ODOT where the property owner was ultimately paid $266,465.00 for his property.
- Defended a property in Cincinnati whose road frontage was being taken for a road widening by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), resulting in a loss of parking and a security gate system. ODOT initially deposited $216,449.00 as compensation. The matter was resolved with a settlement payment to the owner of $385,000.00.
- Sued the Metropolitan Sewer District on behalf of the owners of residential property whose property was repeatedly impacted by raw sewage discharges into the creek running through their property. Ultimately, the Court of Appeals and the Ohio Supreme Court ordered the City of Cincinnati, which operates the sewer district, to acquire the property. (State ex rel. Gilbert v. Cincinnati, 125 Ohio St.3d 385, 2010 – Ohio – 1473.)
- Defended a business that operated a parking lot and lottery sales operation on the Cincinnati riverfront. Its property was taken by the City of Cincinnati for highway purposes. The City proposed to pay $665,000.00 for the property. The jury awarded our clients $4,500,000.00. Cincinnati v. Banks 143 Ohio App. 3d 272 (2001)
- Defended the owner of the historic Dickerson Building in Newport, Kentucky, in an eminent domain matter brought by the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky (TANK). The acquisition, had it proceeded, would have resulted in the demolition of the building and the construction of a transit center. The Federal Transit Administration was convinced to withdraw its federal funding for the project due to TANK’s failure to comply with federal historic preservation laws. When TANK decided that it would try to proceed with the project using only local funds, the court was convinced at trial that TANK could not afford to complete the project. The Court ruled that TANK did not have the right to take the property. BIF Inc. v. Campbell County, 2007 Ky. App. Unpub. 858 (2007)
- Defended a group of property owners in Clifton Heights in an eminent domain matter brought by the City of Cincinnati. Two of the three cases settled for several times the City’s initial offer. In the remaining case, the Court of Appeals agreed that the City did not have the right to take the client’s property and the Court ordered the City to pay our client’s legal fees and expenses. City of Cincinnati v. Clif Cor, 2007-Ohio-311. (1st Dist. 2007)
- Challenged the City of Dayton’s well field protection ordinance on behalf of an industrial property owner. He argued equal protection violations, excessive regulation, and takings claims, ultimately forcing Dayton to allow the client to sell his property with much less oppressive restrictions on the use of the property.
- Worked on a successful challenge to an eminent domain action brought by the Clinton County Commissioners who had filed the action in order to expand Clinton Field, a county-owned airport. It was established that Clinton County failed to comply with the National Historic Preservation Act and the National Environmental Policy Act and, as a result, was ineligible to obtain the federal funds necessary for the acquisition of the property and the construction of the expanded airport. The Commissioners were forced to abandon the take and, as a result, they were responsible for paying the vast majority of the clients’ legal fees.
- Represented several of the property owners in Cincinnati whose land was acquired for the construction of the new Paul Brown (Bengals) Football Stadium. The two major cases both settled during trial. The property owners were paid more than twice the money the County had offered prior to trial commencing.
- Defended a client whose historic farm in Warren County Ohio was threatened by eminent domain.
A proposed pipeline was re-routed around the farm; again, using historic preservation arguments, resulting in the dismissal of the pending eminent domain action.
- Represented the Batsakes Family Trust, owner of the building containing the famous Cincinnati hat dealer and laundry, the City acquired its building for the construction of the new Contemporary Arts Center in Downtown Cincinnati. Prior to trial, a final settlement satisfactory to all parties was negotiated.
- Worked with a team of lawyers representing the City of Cleveland in one of the largest eminent domain battles in Ohio history. Cleveland acquired a large former tank plant adjacent to Greater Cleveland Airport for future airport expansion. The City of Brook Park, where the tank plant is located, filed an eminent domain action against the City of Cleveland seeking to acquire the plant in order to prevent airport expansion. The trial court determined that Brook Park did not have the right to take and the settlement of the litigation cleared the way for the growth of the airport.
- Defended CVS Drugstores and Rookwood Properties in downtown Cincinnati, preventing the City of Cincinnati from illegally taking one downtown drugstore and replacing it with another drugstore.
- Completed a series of eminent domain acquisitions for the City of Monroe, Ohio, acquiring property necessary for the expansion of State Route 63, which was part of a combined project with the Ohio Department of Transportation, necessary to improve the I-75 Interchange.
- Represented the Southwest School District in Hamilton County with regard to tax abatements and tax increment financing matters.
- Represented a large retail developer in Cincinnati against the City, seeking reimbursement for TIF dollars spent as part of a large big box development, successfully obtaining a $4,200,000 settlement on behalf of the client.
- Handled the eminent domain property acquisitions on behalf of the Cincinnati Public Schools’ system wide school building project.
- Served as special counsel to the Village of Cleves, a small community along the Ohio River to the west of Cincinnati. Cleves was threatened with an effort to dissolve the Village. After analyzing and reporting the dire consequences faced by the loss of the Village’s water department and other services, the initiative was rejected by the voters.
- Defended the City Council of Portsmouth Ohio from a taxpayer’s action challenging the council’s right to receive benefits under the City charter. Thompson v. Syndor, 2000 Ohio App. LEXIS 2040 (4th Dist. 2000)
- Defended a local township against a personal injury on the grounds of sovereign immunity. Wright v. Goshen Township, 1997 Ohio App. LEXIS 2457 (12th Dist. 1997)
Articles, Publications & Lectures
- “Ethics: Ethical Issues and Problems Confronting Condemnation Lawyers” Eminent Domain; Current and Emerging Issues, CLE International, Las Vegas, Nevada, September 29-30, 2016
- “Challenging the Right-to-Take: A Whirlwind Tour of Cases and Issues” ALI/CLE Eminent Domain and Land Value Litigation, San Francisco, California, February 5-7, 2015
- “The Right to Take in Ohio” Eminent Domain, CLE International, Cleveland, Ohio, September 30-October 1, 2013
- “Attorneys Fee Awards” Litigating Wrongful Discharge Claims, ed. Paul Tobias, Esq. (Callaghan & Co., Supplement, 2000)
- “Challenging the Right to Take in Ohio,” Eminent Domain; Impact of Political and Economic Forces, CLE International, Cleveland, Ohio, September 30-October 1, 2013
- “Winning Arguments in Challenging the Right to Take and Public Use,” American Bar Association Eminent Domain and Land Valuation Conference, Phoenix, Arizona, February 4, 2010
- “Eminent Domain Key Trial Updates,” Legislative and Case Law Update, Pleadings and Discovery, August 21, 2009
- “Land Use Law: Current Issues in Subdivision, Annexation and Zoning,” Cincinnati Ohio, Dec. 4, 2008, December 6, 2007
- “Annexation and Zoning Laws,” Cincinnati, Ohio, September 22, 2006
- “The Government’s Right to Condemn Property: Is the Sky the Limit?,” Kentucky Bar Association, June 16, 2006
- “Just Compensation After Kelo,” The Cleveland Eminent Domain Conference, CLE International, April 20-21, 2006
- “Land Development,” Cincinnati, Ohio, July 15, 2005
- “Eminent Domain,” Ohio Bar Association, Columbus, Ohio, August 28, 2003
- “Land Use Planning and Eminent Domain in Ohio,” Cincinnati, Ohio, April 24, 2003
- “What You Need to Know About Public Records and Open Meetings in Ohio,” Cincinnati, Ohio 2001-2003
- “Eminent Domain,” CLE International in Cleveland, Ohio, October 18-19, 2001
- Fraternal Law, contributing writer
- Complex Litigation
- Property Rights Defense
- Eminent Domain
- Inverse Condemnation
- Regulatory Takings
- Land Use | Zoning
- Local Government
- Historic Preservation