Jaymes D. Littlejohn focuses his practice on real estate law and communications infrastructure development. During his more than 25 years of legal practice, Jay has assisted telecommunications companies in finding successful solutions to handle difficult government regulations, which has resulted in the development of infrastructures supporting some of the most important emerging technologies in the country. His areas of practice include:
- Real estate transactions
- Telecommunications regulation
- Use and regulation of rights-of-way
- Zoning and land use
To achieve favorable results for his clients, Jay combines his experience in the fields of real estate transactions, state and federal telecommunications regulations, the use and regulation of public and private rights-of-way, and zoning and land use, as well as related dispute resolution through mediation, arbitration, trial, and appeal. He is the author of “The Impact of Land Use Regulation on Cellular Communications: Is Federal Preemption Warranted?," which reflects his unique blend of otherwise unrelated disciplines and his pioneering practice approach.
Counsel in Controversial Infrastructure Projects
Since his first year in practice, Jay has sought governmental approvals for controversial installations with minimal government delays and expense. He also drafts and negotiates agreements with federal, state, local, and even tribal government entities to enable the use of public lands and structures by his clients, and even to allow for the use of his clients' facilities by such government entities.
As one of the first to work in this novel area, Jay’s efforts enabled the very first cellular installation on land regulated by the federal Department of Transportation. He has worked to resolve issues surrounding the use of Native American Tribal Lands and those lands with Native Cultural and Religious significance, which involved issues with the National Environmental Policy Act and State Historical Preservation Offices.
Representation on Fiber Optic Installation Cases
Jay has also worked with state and local government agencies for the use of rights-of-way for fiber optic installation. For example, at a time when the State of Minnesota had adopted a policy that prohibited any installation of lines in its limited access rights-of-way unless contracted through a single source provider, Jay represented a fiber optic communications company to secure its right to use a portion of right-of-way that crosses the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge.
As a result of environmental protections in place for this area, the client's alternatives for bringing its fiber from the southwest suburbs to the southeast suburbs of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul were extremely limited and costly. The right-of-way permit that was obtained uniquely allowed Jay’s client the access that was needed in an area where that access had been routinely denied.
Client Advocacy before Regulatory Agencies, Municipalities, and Courts
Jay has successfully represented his clients before state, local, and federal regulatory agencies run by both elected and appointed officials. This practice has led Jay to appear in, and otherwise work with, scores of cities, townships, and counties in the Midwest. In addition to this representation, Jay has represented his clients before state and federal trial courts, appellate courts, and state and federal regulatory agencies.
Recent Client Counsel
Currently, Jay is in charge of Moss & Barnett's representation of one of the nation's largest wireless communications (voice and data) companies, for its real estate activities in the Upper Midwest. This work includes providing the legal advice related to the acquisition of real estate fee interests for both local and regional switching centers, easements, rights-of-way, and leasehold interests for the development of its system in the Upper Midwest.
Jay’s counsel involves hundreds of sites under different stages of development at any one time, in addition to condemnation, disputed matters related to existing infrastructure, and representation before state, county, township, and municipal authorities to both negotiate agreements and resolve zoning issues. In its entirety, this work includes numerous issues that all infrastructure developers should consider, including:
- Environmental conditions of the real estate
- Title to real estate
- Standardizing agreements with current landowners for conveyance of lands that need not be condemned
- Analyzing the business risks attendant to acquiring property
Working directly with the client's outside environmental and acquisition consultants, as well as the client's non-lawyer employees, Jay has collaborated in refining a system that uses a secure, web-based extranet to document the status of each project. However, there is still the ability to limit access to privileged information to ensure that the attorney-client privilege remains intact, while providing online status reporting and secure access to documents needed by clients and consultants to perform their work effectively and efficiently.
Jay seeks to share his experiences with other attorneys and law students to help them gain a better understanding of this innovative approach to real estate and infrastructure development. He has served as a panelist at the Regional Communications Law Forum sponsored by Minnesota CLE and has guest lectured on related zoning and land use topics at the Hamline School of Law. He has also served on the Hennepin County District Court Ethics Committee.
- American Bar Association – State and Local Government Law; Communications Law Forum Section; Public Utility, Communications and Transportation Section
- Minnesota State Bar Association – Communication Law Section; Real Property Section
- North Dakota State Bar Association
- Hennepin County Bar Association
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
- U.S. District Court District for the District of Minnesota
- U.S. District Court District for the District of North Dakota
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
- U.S. Supreme Court
- University of North Dakota School of Law, Grand Forks, ND, J.D., with distinction; American Jurisprudence Award
- University of North Dakota, College of Business and Public Administration, Grand Forks, ND, B.S., magna cum laude
Classes / Seminars Taught
- Regional Communications Law Forum, CLE, Minnesota
- Zoning and Land Use Topics, Hamline School of Law
Beta Gamma Sigma
Phi Alpha Delta