Joseph P. Suntum

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Joseph P. Suntum

Joseph P. Suntum is principal in the firm and the firm's Eminent Domain/Condemnation Group Leader. His decades of trial experience and his in-depth knowledge of real property valuation and the law of eminent domain allow him to protect his clients' property rights and maximize their compensation when their properties are targeted for condemnation. Mr. Suntum is the Owners' Counsel of America member attorney for the State of Maryland. The Owners' Counsel of America (OCA) is a national network of experienced condemnation attorneys who represent property owners against federal, state and local governments. Membership in the Owners' Counsel is selective and restricted to one member attorney per state. 

Mr. Suntum is a rare trial lawyer who has successfully tried both murder cases and multi-million dollar civil actions. He has also successfully argued numerous appeals before the Maryland courts of appeal. Mr. Suntum joined the firm in 1988, and has been a principal in the firm since 1994. He served as Managing Partner of the firm from 1997 to 2008. Before joining Miller, Miller & Canby, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Elsbeth Levy Bothe in Circuit Court for Baltimore City, and served as an Assistant Public Defender for Montgomery County for four years, where he first earned his reputation as an outstanding trial advocate.

Quality legal representation requires the trial advocate not only to apply exceptional analytical and trial advocacy skills to the case, but also be able to coordinate the many resources of the client, witnesses and expert consultants into a cohesive and ultimately persuasive team. Mr. Suntum works closely with his clients to identify and fully understand their goals. He uses all available tools in pursuit of a successful result for his clients as efficiently and economically as the case permits, including use of the latest in courtroom technology to most persuasively present his clients' cases. 

The trial of condemnation actions requires full knowledge of the substantive issues concerning land valuation, as well as the unique procedural rules applicable to such matters. Mr. Suntum's knowledge in this area permits him to work effectively with experts such as appraisers, land planners, brokers, developers, and others to maximize the compensation paid to his clients for property taken by governmental agencies. 

In addition to eminent domain cases, Mr. Suntum accepts select commercial litigation matters requiring advanced strategic and trial skills. 

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Practice Areas
  • Appeals
    Business & Commercial Litigation
    Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law
    Real Estate Litigation
bar admissions
  • Maryland

    U.S. District Court, District of Maryland (1983)

Professional Affiliations
  • Bar Association of Montgomery County (Secretary, 1995-1996; Executive Committee, 1997-1999; Member, Federal Practice Section)

    Maryland State Bar Association

    American Bar Association (Member, Litigation Section)

    Board of Directors of Montgomery General Hospital, 2003 - 2009

    Board of Directors of the Montgomery County Bar Foundation, 2005 - 2009

  • University of Maryland, J.D., 1982

    University of Maryland, B.A., 1979

    University of Montana, 1975-1977

Honors and Awards
  • Named by Super Lawyers magazine as top 5% of Litigation Attorneys in the state of Maryland

    Member, Character Committee of The Court of Appeals of Maryland (1992-1997)

Appellate Decisions

Boland v. Boland, 423 Md. 296 (2011) (Shareholder derivative litigation re: Special Litigation Committees)

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Lasater v. Guttmann, 194 Md. App. 431 (2010) (Conversion, Intentional infliction of Emotional Distress)

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8621 Ltd. Partnership v. LDG, Inc., 169 Md. App. 214 (2006) (Specific enforcement of joint venture agreement)

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Circuit City Stores, Inc. v. Rockville Pike Joint Venture Ltd. Partnership, 376 Md. 331 (2003) (Commercial landlord-tenant, surrender of lease, breach of contract, reasonable rejection of sublease)

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Golub v. Cohen, 138 Md. App. 508 (2001) (Specific enforcement of settlement agreement)

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Buxton v. Buxton, 363 Md. 634 (2001) (Fiduciary duty of guardians Laches)

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Schochet v. State, 320 Md. 714 (1990) (Constitutional right to privacy)

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 State v. Calhoun, 306 Md. 692 (1986) (death penalty post-conviction litigation)

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State v. Tichnell, 306 Md. 428 (1986) (death penalty post-conviction litigation)

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"Joe and Amy were great people first, then great lawyers. This case was very important to us, and they treated us with compassion and care. I simply can't speak highly enough about this firm."

Lilly Barboutsis

"What distinguishes Joe Suntum as an attorney is his dogged tenacity. He simply won't quit. His commitment to preserve and protect the rights of his clients is pure and genuine. Joe is a courageous lawyer."

Lowell Baier
Baier Properties Inc.