Eminent domain refers to the right of the government to take private property for public use, under certain circumstances, in exchange for just compensation for the property taken and damages to any remaining property.
Local, state and federal governments have to meet the needs of the populace, whether it be for a new sewer, a new roadway or other public project. Property owners, on the other hand, have the right to enjoy their real estate, regardless of whether those rights include wonderful family memories, or running a business generating income. When the government takes private land, that need is directly contrary to a property owner’s right to fully utilize private property. Our attorneys have represented both property owners and government entities in eminent domain matters so we understand both sides of the process and can navigate the collision of those two important rights.
Public purposes for a taking include roadway construction, utility transmission lines, pipeline replacement, bike paths and walking trails, and water and sewer lines. This list is not exhaustive so each matter must be evaluated to determine the purpose of the takings and whether it is actually a “public” purpose for which eminent domain authority can be used. If it is, our attorneys work to ensure the property owner receives all the compensation owed by the government, including the value of the property actually taken as well as damages to the property left after the taking.
Our attorneys work regularly with experts necessary to establish property owners’ claims for compensation, including real estate appraisers and brokers, accountants, engineers, surveyors and other professionals. When appropriate, attorneys in other relevant practice groups, such as real estate and tax, are involved so the client receives the best result possible.
Our attorneys also have represented local governments, such as municipalities, so we understand the legal requirements necessary for government to successfully exercise eminent domain authority.
If you are facing an eminent domain issue, please contact one of our eminent domain attorneys to discuss how we can help you.
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