For many landowners facing the threat of eminent domain, it can feel personal. We hear all the time that our clients have lived on their land for years going back generations, that the land was bought with a significant amount money, and that our clients envisioned remaining landowners for years to come.
Eminent domain, which allows the government to take private property for public use in exchange for "just compensation," poses a huge threat to landowners and their emotional ties to their property. On the other hand, the proponents of the projects that need the land often see the controversy as nothing more than doing business.
Because of this dynamic, alternative dispute resolution1 can be a good fit for the parties in an eminent domain case to resolve this disagreement.
What Is Alternative Dispute Resolution?
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a method of resolving conflicts outside of the court setting. ADR includes arbitration and mediation.2 Typically, each side in the dispute will have legal representation and a mediator, who is trained in ADR and knowledgeable about eminent domain laws, will oversee the process.
Benefits of ADR include:
Confidentiality. The proceedings of ADR are confidential. The proceedings in court are not. Clients often appreciate that their dispute, which often feels personal to them, is not able to be reviewed by others. Proponents of eminent domain appreciate that the proceedings are private as well. The private nature of ADR usually results in a greater number of options being put on the table for consideration.
Flexibility. When you bring a lawsuit in court, you are asking a judge to resolve the dispute in a manner he or she sees fit. While a judge might believe that deciding a dispute one way is the best outcome, it could be that neither party agrees with the resolution and believes a different outcome would be better. Judge's do not have to live with the decision they make -- you do. A benefit of ADR is that you get more control in the outcome of your case. Provided the decision is not illegal, if the parties agree to a resolution that fits the need of their case, it can be resolved in that way.
If you are facing the threat of eminent domain, you do not have to do it alone. A competent condemnation lawyer can be your advocate through the process, whether that be in court or in an ADR setting. Disputes settled through ADR still require the help of a property law lawyer.
Contact our Knowledgable Ohio Eminent Domain Lawyers Today
Lawyers at the law firm of Sever Storey understand that needs of landowners in states including Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, and North Carolina. Call us today for help at 888-318-3761.