Dwight H. Merriam, CRE
Dwight H. Merriam is a partner in the Hartford office of Robinson & Cole LLP, where, in 1978, he founded the firm’s Land Use Group. He counsels land owners, developers, corporations and individuals in land use, real estate and condemnation litigation matters.
Throughout his extensive career, Dwight has held a number of leadership positions in some of the most prestigious national and international real estate and legal associations. He is designated member of the Counselors of Real Estate®, a member of the Anglo-American Real Property Institute, a Fellow of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and a member of the Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute National Advisory Board. He is also Immediate Past Chair of the American Bar Association’s Section of State and Local Government Law, Chair of the Institute of Local Government Studies at the Center for American and International Law, a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, and a Fellow of the Connecticut Bar Foundation.
In addition to his legal career, Dwight served in the Navy, including three tours in Vietnam. He left active duty after 7 years to attend law school but continued for 24 years as a reserve naval warfare officer. He was the senior advisor of the Naval ROTC Unit at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, where he taught both undergraduate and graduate courses in defense administration and military management. After 31 years of service, Captain Merriam retired from military service in 1999.
Significant Eminent Domain and Property Rights Representations and Reported Decisions
- In 2012, Dwight and a team of Robinson & Cole lawyers secured a $167,501,656 just compensation award for Gyrodyne Company of America, Inc. against the State of New York for the condemnation of 245.5 acres of property in a planned residential community in upstate New York.
- Dwight also co-authored an amici curiae brief in the United State Supreme Court on behalf of the Rent Stabilization Association of New York, Inc. and Small Property Owners of New York, Inc. in favor of the property owner in the rent control case, Harmon v. Kimmel, No. 11-496, (cert. denied April 23, 2012).
Dwight is often invited to speak at legal seminars, has been cited by the press and has appeared on national and public television discussing land use and property rights issues. A selection of his most recent presentations is highlighted below, a complete list of his presentations is available here.
- University of Connecticut, School of Law: 20th Thomas R. Gallivan Jr. Conference – Kelo: A Decade Later, “Eminent Domain and Economic Development,” March 20, 2015, Hartford, Connecticut.
- International Academic Association on Planning Law and Property Rights (PLPR) Annual Conference, “The Global Spread of Private Communities,” February 27, 2015, Volos, Greece.
- American law Institute: Eminent Domain and Land Valuation Litigation, “Denominators and Bright Lines: The Search for the Relevant Parcel in Eminent Domain and Regulatory Takings,” February 6, 2015, San Francisco, California.
- International Municipal Lawyers Association teleconference, “2013 Land Use – The Year in Review,” co-presented with Professor Daniel Mandelker, Washington University School of Law, a national teleconference conducted on January 14, 2014.
- National Business Institute: Eminent Domain from Start to Finish, “Challenging the Right to Take: Case Law and Recent Issues,” December 5, 2013, Cromwell, Connecticut.
- National Business Institute: Eminent Domain from Start to Finish, “Ethics of Condemnation,” December 5, 2013, Cromwell, Connecticut.
- Southern New England American Planning Association Conference: Planning at the Crossroads, “Land Use Law: What You Don’t Know WILL Hurt You – The Most Important Land Use Law Developments of the Last Year,” September 2012.
- University of North Carolina, 2011 Commencement Speaker, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
- Connecticut Bar Association’s Fifth Annual Property Rights Seminar, “Recent National Developments,” December 2010.
Published Articles and Papers
Mr. Merriam has published hundreds of articles and eight books including The Takings Issue and Eminent Domain Use and Abuse: Kelo in Context. He has also written chapters in the seminal treatise on condemnation law, Nichols on Eminent Domain. (For a complete list of his most recent published works and public appearances, please visit here.)
Bar Memberships and Admissions
- Connecticut Bar Association
- American Bar Association
- Designated Member, The Counselors of Real Estate®, www.cre.org, an international organization of real estate professionals recognized as the leading advisors in complex real property matters. Dwight is among the fewer than 50 practicing attorneys who hold a CRE® designation.
- Immediate Past Chair, American Bar Association’s Section of State and Local Government Law
- Chair, Institute of Local Government Studies at the Center for American and International Law
- Fellow, American Bar Foundation
- Fellow, Connecticut Bar Foundation
- Fellow, American College of Real Estate Lawyers
- Fellow and Past President, American Institute of Certified Planners
- Fellow, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
- Former Director, American Planning Association and Former Chair, APA’s Planning and Law Division
- Member, Anglo-American Real Property Institute
- Member, Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute National Advisory Board
- Adjunct Professor, University of Connecticut School of Law and Vermont Law School
- Board of Directors, Owners’ Counsel of America (2016-2019)