Eminent domain is the right of the government to take private property for public use. The right of the federal government to exercise eminent domain is found in the Fifth Amendment of the U.S Constitution, and all 50 states have provisions that allow them to exercise eminent domain in some capacity.
While the language above may make it seem like only the government can exercise eminent domain, states often grant public utilities the power to exercise public domain as well. Examples of utilities that often have the right to exercise eminent domain are those that operate in the energy or transportation sectors. This is why many current and controversial issues regarding eminent domain involve private companies.
The term “public use” is similarly misleading to many people. Courts have construed the requirement that a taking is for the public use very broadly. While it is clear that taking property to build hospitals, roads, school, and infrastructure would be for public use, it may come as a surprise to many that private property may be seized and transferred to another private property for the purpose of economic development.
The determination of just compensation is often the most contested issue in many cases involving eminent domain. Generally speaking, just compensation is determined by looking at the fair market value of a given piece of property. In cases of disputes, this often comes down to a “battle of the appraisers.” In cases where just compensation is disputed, it is extremely important for landowners to retain an attorney familiar with eminent domain law in their jurisdiction.
When you are facing an eminent domain claim, a knowledgeable attorney can help in many ways, including the following:
If you are a landowner whose land could be subject to an eminent domain action, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible. For a free case review with one of our attorneys, call Sever Storey today at 888-318-3761 or send us an email through our online contact form.
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Before going alone against the State let us give you our opinion. It is our pledge that we will provide a free case review for any individual or business facing eminent domain or condemnation. Contact us now at 888-318-3761