James Jack Leavitt
Mr. Leavitt has dedicated his entire career as an attorney to protecting landowners in eminent domain and inverse condemnation cases. He has confronted, briefed, argued, and presented to the judiciary nearly every issue a landowner may face when the government takes their property. He has led hundreds of cases that have allowed him to address cutting edge issues before juries and the Nevada Supreme Court, including numerous cases that resulted in very large just compensation verdicts for landowners. Of the cases he has presented to the Nevada Supreme Court, many resulted in new eminent domain and inverse condemnation law that has benefited all Nevada landowners.
Mr. Leavitt’s experience spans real property takings such as businesses, raw land, commercial land, apartment complexes, condominium homes, open land, industrial facilities, air space, hotel, retail, and office complexes.
“I’ve been defending landowners against government abuses in eminent domain and inverse condemnation actions for over 25 years. I strongly believe that the founding fathers’ declaration in the United States Constitution regarding private landowners—‘Just Compensation’ must be paid where property is taken—is one of the most fundamentally important individual rights we enjoy. Zealous representation by competent legal counsel is crucial to protect this right. At the Law Offices of Kermitt L. Waters we provide this necessary zealous representation.”
One such case that required zealous representation involved the taking of a landowner’s airspace above his property located on the Las Vegas Strip. The government denied there was a taking and denied it was required to pay just compensation. The case required intense legal research into the issue of whether the government is required to pay just compensation for the taking of airspace and ultimately involved significant briefing and oral argument before a District Court Judge in the Eighth Judicial District of Nevada. Following countless hours of litigation, hearings, and successful legal rulings, the government agreed to pay the landowner just compensation in the amount of $21,000,000.00. This award was paid to the landowner within one day of final approval of the settlement.
Noted and respected for his significant knowledge of eminent domain law and presentation skills, Mr. Leavitt has co-chaired Continuing Legal Education seminars on eminent domain and has frequently presented on eminent domain issues. In addition, he assisted Kermitt Waters in drafting the Peoples Initiative to Stop the Taking of Our Land (PISTOL). PISTOL has been adopted as part of the Nevada State Constitution and has resulted in greater protections for Nevada Landowners in eminent domain and inverse condemnation cases..
- University of Nevada Las Vegas, B.A., (1993)
- University of Idaho College of Law, J.D., (1996)
- Law Review, University of Idaho College of Law
Professional and Community Involvement
Mr. Leavitt is active in the Clark County and Nevada Bar Associations. He is also a member of the Nevada Trial Lawyers Association. In the greater Las Vegas community, he has been active as both a scout and a leader in the Boy Scouts of America, and contributes his spare time to youth sports. He also contributes to humanitarian efforts across the world.
Mr. Leavitt enjoys time with his family, which includes his wife and three children. Actively involved in athletics and sports his entire life, he also enjoys hiking, fishing, and camping. Having spent two years in Bolivia, Mr. Leavitt is fluent in Spanish.