Dawson & Sodd, LLP provides expert services to its clients and enjoys a reputation as one of the prominent eminent-domain firms in Texas.
The firm, which traces its roots to the turn of the 20th century, has handled almost all types of litigation. But under the leadership of Glenn Sodd and legendary Baylor law professor emeritus Matt "Mad Dog" Dawson, the firm rose to prominence as eminent-domain practitioners.
121 N. Main Street
Corsicana TX 755110
Eminent domain, also called "condemnation power," is the power of the state or federal government, and private companies acting under government authority, to condemn and force the sale of private property for public purposes.
As Texas's population continues to grow, its need for basic infrastructurehighways, roads, rail lines, electric-transmission lines, gas pipelines, water pipelines, and other public projectswill continue to rise. While some of this growth may be accommodated by updating existing infrastructure, there will be a need for new projects. Whether you own commercial, residential, or rural property, there is a chance all or part of your property might be condemned.
The United States and Texas Constitutions guarantee just compensation when a condemning authority takes private property. The true value of the property to be taken is often a matter of intense debate in a condemnation proceeding. Given this fact and the complexity of the legal process in this area of the law, a party to a condemnation suit often benefits from hiring legal counsel with the skill and experience to seek a favorable outcome.
Our condemnation recoveries are among the largest "spreads" between low offers and high recoveries in Texas history, and our clients have had success in obtaining not only favorable settlements but also trial-court and appellate victories throughout Texas. Our News & Events webpage features a sample of the cases we have handled for our clients.
Glenn Sodd's skill as a trial lawyer is legendary. A frequent speaker on eminent-domain trial strategy and a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, Glenn has testified about eminent domain on invitation from the Texas Legislature and has been honored in Texas Super Lawyers for the last nine years and as one of the 100 best trial lawyers in America (one of only three from Texas) by Town & Country magazine as far back as 1985. He has occasionally accepted complex litigation matters involving oil and gas, personal injury, and farm-and-ranch law for friends, but Glenn has focused most all of his attention for the last 20 years on eminent-domain litigation throughout the state of Texas.
Glenn received his J.D., cum laude, in 1972 from Baylor University, where he graduated at the top of his class with the highest grades in Baylor history. In addition to his busy law practice, Glenn has been personally involved in the oil-and-gas industry since 1973. He also operates a 2,200-acre working ranch in Navarro County, known as "The Refuge." It includes a 1200-cow grazing dairy and an extensive white-tailed deer scientific breeder operation. Glenn has also been the owner of convenient stores, office buildings, retail centers, rental projects, and raw land suitable for development. He has started a bank, worked in the construction industry, and been part owner of two wholesale supply businesses. Glenn's personal experiences in these areas have been invaluable maximizing value and damages in condemnation cases involving virtually every kind of property.
Glenn is admitted to practice in Texas (1972), the U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Western Districts of Texas, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, and the U.S. Tax Court. He is also a member of the Navarro County Bar Association (President, 19741975), the Dallas Bar Association, Texas Trial Lawyers Association, American Association for Justice (formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America), National Order of Barristers, and the American College of Trial Lawyers. He has served as a member of the Corsicana Independent School District Board of Trustees, as president of the Corsicana Industrial Foundation, as president of the Corsicana Chamber of Commerce, and on numerous other community boards. Glenn has taught a Sunday morning Bible class in Corsicana for thirty years.
Glenn's successful reported appellate cases include the following:
-Dillard v. Texas Electric Cooperative, 157 S.W.3d 429 (Tex. 2005)
-Tarrant Regional Water District v. Gragg, 151 S.W.3d 546 (Tex. 2004)
-Duer Wagner & Co. v. City of Sweetwater, 112 S.W.3d 628 (Tex. App.Eastland 2003, no pet.)
-Hitzelberger v. Samedan Oil Corp., 948 S.W.2d 497 (Tex. App.Waco 1997, pet. denied)
-State v. Tamminga, 928 S.W.2d 737 (Tex. AppWaco 1996, no writ)
-J.K. and Susie L. Wadley Research Institute and Blood Bank v. Morris, 776 S.W.2d 271 (Tex. AppDallas 1989, no writ)
-City of Corsicana v. Herod, 768 S.W.2d 805 (Tex. App.Waco 1989, no writ)
-Cavazos v. Simmons, 90 B.R. 234 (N.D. Tex. 1988)
-Lowrance v. Whitfield, 752 S.W.2d 129 (Tex. AppHouston [1st Dist.] 1988, writ denied)
-Navarro v. International Business Machines Corp., 70 B.R. 94 (Bankr. N.D. Tex. 1987)
-Staley v. Terns Service Co., 595 S.W.2d 882 (Tex. Civ. AppWaco 1980, writ dism'd)
-Beets v. Malakoff Independent School District, 589 S.W.2d 188 (Tex. Civ. AppTyler 1979, writ ref'd n.r.e.)
-Schwertner v. Henderson, 575 S.W.2d 358 (Tex. Civ. AppWaco 1978, writ dism'd w.o.j.)
-State ex rel. McKie v. Bullock, 491 S.W.2d 659 (Tex. 1973)
Juris Doctorate, 1972
Clay Beard's principal area of practice is in civil litigation and he has successfully represented clients in courtrooms all across Texas for over 20 years. Clay loves the challenges that come with the hard work and the intense preparation required to be a successful litigatorand the satisfaction of "leveling the playing field" for his clients when the desired result is achieved.
Clay has represented clients in numerous areas of civil litigation, including eminent domain, business and corporate disputes, probate, and personal injury. He began his litigation career representing landowner clients in eminent-domain cases, and eminent domain is the focus of his practice today. Clay has represented both individuals and business clients, ranging from corporate clients to individual landowners. The common thread with all of his clients is that they simply seek justice that, all to often, can only be found in the courtroom through vigorous representation of their interests. Clay received his undergraduate degree with honors from the University of Texas at Austin and his J.D. in 1989 from Baylor Law School. Litigation was always his focus in law school, where he was a member of the acclaimed Baylor Mock Trial Competition team. At a law school specializing in training top-notch litigators, Clay was honored to receive the Matt Dawson Award as the outstanding trial advocate in his class.
After graduation, Clay joined the law firm of Dawson & Sodd in Corsicana, Texas. He practiced there for a total of 12 years starting in 1993, four years as an associate and eight as a partner. In 2001 he opened up the law offices of Clay Beard, P.C., practicing solo for five years until joining Terry Jacobson and Ron Edmondson to form the law offices of Jacobson, Beard & Edmondson, P.C., where he practiced until 2009. In January 2009, Clay reunited with his original firm as a partner.
Clay is admitted to practice in all the courts in Texas, the U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Western Districts of Texas, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and the United States Claims Court.
-Lead trial counsel representing landowners in Denton County, Texas in a pipeline case trial and recovered a verdict and judgment in an amount over 20 times the original offer. This case is currently on appeal.
-Lead trial counsel in numerous trials in Dallas, Ector, Hill, Ellis, Navarro, Nacogdoches and other counties in condemnation, personal injury, contract, and medical malpractice cases.
-Represented landowners in a prominent water rights case in Nolan County, Texas.
-Represented several landowners in Irving, Texas against the State on the Highway 183 expansion project.
Represented landowners against the NTTA on the toll way expansion project.
-Represented numerous landowners in Johnson, Ellis, Navarro, Leon, and other counties in pipeline cases.
-Co-counsel with Glenn Sodd on the Richland-Chambers, Texas Rangers Baseball Stadium, Superconducting Supercollider, Midway Airport, and other cases resulting in recoveries for clients by both trial and settlement.
Clay married his high-school sweetheart Tammy in 1989, and they have two teenage daughters, Shelby and Sarah. Clay, Tammy, and the girls are active members at First Baptist Church, where Clay serves as a Sunday School teacher. He loves the outdoors and any activity the puts him outside, especially hunting and fishing. Clay grew up in the Pineywoods of East Texas and was born and raised in Garrison, Texas, a town of about 1,000 located 20 miles north of Nacogdoches. Owing to those roots, Clay likes to spend time at his farm located between Crockett and Lufkin.
Baylor Law School
Juris Doctorate, 1989
Jason Sodd's principal area of practice is in eminent domain litigation throughout the State of Texas. He will occasionally handle complex cases involving personal injury, oil & gas litigation, business litigation, farm and ranch litigation. Jason was born in Waco, Texas. He attended Texas Tech University and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Economics in 1997. He received his law degree in 2001 from Texas Wesleyan University School of Law. Jason was admitted to practice in Texas in 2002. He is a member of the State Bar of Texas, Texas Trial Lawyers Association, and the Navarro County Bar Association. Jason is a family man. He is married and has two children. They are actively involved in the First Baptist Church of Corsicana. In his free time, Jason enjoys hunting, fishing, playing golf, and spending time with his family.
Jody Sodd McSpadden has made her mark in a wide range of successful courtroom experiences. While Jody has practiced in a variety of areas, including personal injury, farm and ranch litigation, oil and gas litigation, business litigation and family law, she now devotes most of her practice to complex condemnation cases. She has represented landowners in condemnation proceedings involving the Dallas Cowboys football stadium, condemnations for Trinity River projects in Fort Worth and Dallas, a prominent water rights condemnation, numerous highway condemnations and convenience store condemnations, a condemnation for a natural gas treatment facility, condemnation for a gas compressor site, as well as condemnations involving pipeline companies.
Jody received her undergraduate degree from Texas A & M University earning a B.S. in Agricultural Development in 1998. After graduating from Texas A& M, Jody taught middle school and high school before making the decision to go to law school. In 2002, Jody earned her law degree from Baylor University School of Law.
Jody was recognized as a "Rising Star" in eminent domain in 2005, 2006 and 2007 by Law and Politics Magazine published in Texas Monthly. In addition to her dedication to the practice of law, Jody has also served the community as a member of the Corsicana Education Foundation Board, Secretary of the Board of Directors for the Navarro County Child Advocates and was an Adjunct Professor for the Navarro Junior College. Jody was appointed to the City of Corsicana's Planning and Zoning Board and currently serves in that capacity. Jody is also a member of the Navarro County Bar Association.
Jody was born in Corsicana, Texas, February 21, 1975 and after law school wanted to return to her home town roots where she could raise her family. Jody married Chris McSpadden in 1998 and they have three children, Will, Annie and Jake. She and her family enjoy spending time together at their ranch, The Refuge, where Chris breeds and raises whitetail deer. Jody also enjoys reading, antique shopping and running.
-Represented landowners in Marion County, Texas against Enbridge Pipeline (East Texas), LP in a case for leased land under a gas processing plant. This case is currently on appeal.
-Represented landowners in Bell County, Texas against the State of Texas in a case where TXDOT took 28 acres for a rest stop and denied the owners access to groundwater beneath their land. The case involved complex issues regarding valuation of groundwater. Jody's responsibilities included direct examination of the landowners' key valuation witness and assisting in preparing the case for trial.
-Represented landowners in a prominent water rights condemnation case in Nolan County, Texas.
-Represents landowners in Tarrant County against the City of Ft. Worth on the 121T Southwest Parkway Project.
-Represented landowners who owned property being taken for the Dallas Cowboys Stadium.
-Represents landowners in Hill County against the State of Texas' widening of I-35.
-Represents convenience store owners in Dallas and Hill County whose property is being taken by the State of Texas for roadway projects.
-Represents landowners in Navarro, Johnson, Ellis, Leon and Tarrant Counties regarding various pipeline projects.
-Represents landowners whose property is being acquired for the Trinity River Vision Project.
Conducted numerous fact and expert witness depositions in a variety of condemnation cases.
Publications and Presentations
-Jody wrote a paper entitled Defending Property Owners from the Government and presented it at the Advanced Consumer Law CLE in Houston on behalf of the State Bar of Texas in November 2005.
-Jody also wrote a paper entitled, Condemnation Proceedings for Easements from the Landowner's Perspective and presented it at the Law of Easements: Legal Issues and Practice Considerations seminar hosted by Lorman Education Services in August 2007.
Matt Hurt joined Dawson & Sodd, LLP as a partner in April 2011. Prior to joining Dawson & Sodd, Matt practiced at Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell, LLP (Locke Lord) in Dallas starting in September of 2001.
Matt graduated magna cum laude from Texas A&M University with a B.S. in Civil Engineering in 1996. While at Texas A&M, he was nominated by the Department of Civil Engineering for Outstanding Student in the College of Engineering. Matt worked in the civil engineering field for 1 years before attending law school and during one summer of law school.
Matt graduated magna cum laude from Texas Tech University School of Law in 2001. During law school, he earned the highest grade in three classes: Torts, Products Liability, and Legal Writing. Matt was President of the law school Texas Aggie Bar Association, served on the Board of Barristers, and was Technology Editor of the Texas Tech Law Review. He and his mock-trial partner won the Texas Tech School of Law mock trial competition during their third year of law school.
Matt is licensed in Texas and Colorado. Matt is admitted to practice in all of the state and federal courts of Texas, as well as the United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit.
Matt practices exclusively in the area of eminent domain and condemnation litigation. Matt's engineering and construction litigation background enables him to dig into the details of proposed projects to help identify the impacts a project or a taking will cause to a landowner's property. It also aids him in effective questioning and cross-examination of appraisal, engineering, and other technical expert witnesses.
Trials / Reported Appellate Decisions:
State of Texas v. State Street Bank & Trust Co. and Brinker Int'l Payroll Co., L.P., County Court at Law No. 5, Dallas County, Texas (condemnation impacting Brinker International corporate headquarters as part of the I-635 widening in Dallas), final judgment in the amount of $3,747,651.27; affirmed by Dallas Court of Appeals, 359 S.W.3d 375. During this trial, Matt cross examined the State of Texas project engineer and the State's engineering expert witness. Matt also put on the landowner's evidence of costs to cure the impacts of the taking on the corporate campus and parking lot. The judgment amount is more than ten (10) times the State's initial offer.
Cause No. CC-08-08424-E, State of Texas v. Rodger A. Johnson, et al., County Court at Law No. 5, Dallas County, Texas (condemnation for SH 183 widening in Irving, Texas); final judgment in the amount of $3,123,125.90; on appeal to Dallas Court of Appeals, Case # 05-11-01622-CV. During this trial, Matt cross examined the State of Texas project engineer and two engineering expert witnesses hired by the State. Matt examined the landowner's expert witness who testified that the remainder property failed to comply with the applicable fire code because of the taking. Matt also gave the closing argument. The judgment amount is more than forty (40) times the State's initial compensation offer.
Cause No. CC-09-03904-C, State of Texas v. Sarkis J. Kechejian Trust, et al., County Court at Law No. 3, Dallas County, Texas (condemnation for SH 183 widening in Irving, Texas); trial in December 2011, case settled during trial. During pre-trial hearings, the Court made a favorable ruling that a road providing access to the property was a private road, not a public dedicated street. The State significantly increased its previous settlement offers during the third day of trial and the case eventually settled during trial.
Cases resolved before trial:
In condemnation threatening a successful convenience store, Matt established during deposition of the TxDOT engineer that the State of Texas could not legally acquire the contested property along I-35E in Farmers Branch for the widening of I-635, resulting in State's dismissal of the case.
Represented Fort Worth construction company in condemnation case brought by City of Fort Worth to acquire entire business headquarters site for drainage project. Settled case for over three times the compensation initially offered by city.
Obtained compensation for tenant (DFW airport offsite parking business) that leased large industrial property along SH 183.
Assisted in representation of landowners of unimproved land along I-35 in Hill County, Texas.
Represented individual landowner whose land was acquired for expansion of a DART rail line. Settlement involved providing access license agreement for access across land acquired by DART and payment of monetary compensation over eight (8) times original offer.
Working with landowners in Fort Worth threatened by proposed Trinity River Vision redevelopment project.
At the age of 29, Tyler joined the firm as a Partner. He previously practiced condemnation law as an attorney for the Law Office of Joe. H. Staley, Jr. P.C. He has represented both condemnors and landowners, but over the past few years he has tailored his practice to focus on the defense of property owners and their rights. He has successfully represented clients against condemning authorities at the local, county, and state levels involving various types of takings from residential, commercial, industrial and rural properties, including takings for: highway expansions, sanitary sewer lift stations, water transmission lines, natural gas transmission and gathering pipelines, and overhead electric transmission power lines.
Tyler received his undergraduate degree in 2003 from The College of William and Mary, graduating with a B.A. in History. During college, Tyler spent his summers interning in Washington D.C. at The White House and on Capitol Hill. In 2006, he earned his law degree from St. Mary's University School of Law. During law school, Tyler clerked in the Counterterrorism Section of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington D.C., served as an associate editor of the St. Mary's Law Journal, and was selected to the Order of the Barristers.
Tyler was admitted to practice in Texas in 2006 and is a member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Texas, the Dallas Bar Association, and the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers. In addition to his law practice, Tyler volunteers as a mentor through the Mercy Street West Dallas mentoring program and serves on the fundraising committee, the Touch Down Club, for the Rise School of Dallas.
-Represented landowners against the State of Texas in relation to the expansion of LBJ Freeway (US-635), Airport Freeway (SH-183), State Highway 26, State Highway 121, Interstate-30, and Interstate-35.
-Represented landowners across North Texas against various natural gas pipeline companies for the condemnation of easements for both natural gas gathering and natural gas transmission pipelines.
-Represented landowners in the purchase of surplus property from the State of Texas.
-Represented landowners in Parker County against Brazos Electric Cooperative in relation to the construction of a new electric transmission power line.
-Represented landowners against the various municipalities in relation to the construction of water transmission lines.
-Represented a landowner against the City of Mansfield in relation the construction of one of the largest sanitary sewer lift stations in North Texas.
-Assisted with and/or conducted jury trials, special commissioners' hearings, and expert and fact witness depositions in a variety of condemnation matters.
-Assisted with the briefing of appeals of condemnation matters before the Texas Supreme Court, the Austin Court of Appeals, the Dallas Court of Appeals, and the Fort Worth Court of Appeals.
Publications and Presentations
-The "Unable to Agree" Requirement and Texas Condemnation Law: A Critical Analysis of Hubenak v. San -Jacinto Gas Trans. Co., published in Vol. 37, Issue 2 of the St. Mary's Law Journal.
-Selected to Texas Super Lawyers- Rising Star, published in Texas Monthly, 2014