Freehold Lawyers Join Panel Sessions Pointing the Way to New Jersey’s Post-Sandy Rebuilding
Two noted attorneys from Rutter & Roy LLP of Freehold, N.J.–Christine A. Roy and Brian W. Keatts–will play significant roles this week in the Region 4 Spring Conference of the International Right-of-Way Association, a multi-disciplinary professional group serving the infrastructure, utility and transportation industries. The New Jersey chapter of the IWRA is hosting chapters from 12 Eastern states and the District of Columbia for the conference, on March 28 and 29 at the Asbury Hotel in Asbury Park, N.J.
Christine A. Roy, managing partner of Rutter & Roy, will co-moderate a seven-hour seminar on Thursday, focusing on the federal and state Storm Damage Mitigation Project stemming from the destruction wrought by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. Hundreds of lives were lost in the storm, and some $65 billion in damage was suffered in the United States; New Jersey was among the hardest hit states. Repair, rebuilding, and prevention of future such catastrophes have been a focus of federal and state agencies ever since. Thursday’s morning session will look at issues related to the planning, easement acquisition, and title issues involved with the Project.
“The future of New Jersey and all the other affected states was permanently changed by Hurricane Sandy,” Roy said, “and both public and private entities have been looking ever since at how to best protect their communities from future storm damage.”
The state and federal governments, via the New Jersey State Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, have exercised the power of eminent domain in the course of constructing sand dunes and widening the beach berm along the New Jersey coast in order to provide better protection to the neighboring homes and businesses. Roy, along with co-moderator Michael Ash, will discuss the challenges involved in the condemnation and valuation proceedings associated with the eminent domain process.
In the afternoon session, Roy will be joined by Keatts, along with land value appraisers and other professionals. The topics at issue will be New Jersey case law and various valuation methods utilized when evaluating the land subject to the Project and the eminent domain process. This will include concerns raised by landowners and highlight issues brought to the forefront during recent litigation.
Christine A. Roy joined the firm in 1999. She has 20 years of experience in project planning, right of way acquisition, and environmental permitting involving interstate natural gas pipeline and other linear projects, and has been lead counsel on over 100 condemnation actions filed in the U.S. District Court of New Jersey in connection with several major interstate natural gas pipeline projects for three different companies. Ms. Roy has extensive knowledge in environmental permitting and other environmental regulatory schemes unique to New Jersey such as the Green Acres diversion regulations, Farmland Preservation programs, and the No Net Loss Reforestation Act. Additionally, Ms. Roy has navigated clients through the conversion process in connection with lands that are encumbered by Section 6(f) of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a program administered by the National Park Service.
Brian W. Keatts joined Rutter & Roy in 2017. He has extensive experience in all facets of litigation, having spent more than 17 years representing clients in the construction, financial services, and insurance industries in various state and federal courts, in addition to arbitration proceedings. Mr. Keatts currently focuses his practice on working with clients in the energy, environmental and infrastructure fields in transactional and litigation matters. He has handled numerous trials and commissioner hearings related to the State of New Jersey’s Hurricane and Storm Damage Reduction Project.
The International Right of Way Association is a professional member organization comprised of global infrastructure real estate practitioners. Its purpose is to improve people’s quality of life through infrastructure development. Since its inception as a not-for-profit association in 1934, IRWA has served professionals who acquire, manage and transfer the land rights needed for building and maintaining energy and transportation infrastructure. Recognized for their high ethical standards, commitment to integrity and professional excellence, IRWA’s nearly 10,000 members hail from more than 15 countries around the world. They are united by their profession and mission to empower professionals by elevating ethics, learning and a standard of excellence within the global infrastructure real estate community.
About Rutter & Roy
Rutter & Roy’s team of attorneys has extensive experience in environmental law, eminent domain and land use and zoning, as well as commercial real estate, waste management, project planning and appeals.
NOTE: Interested members of the public may register for the IRWA conference on site at the Asbury Hotel, Thursday morning March 28th, from 8 to 8:30 a.m.