Sever | Storey Blog

What if a Condemned Property in NJ Is Also in Foreclosure?


It is generally troubling to learn that the government wants to seize your land. However, if you can longer afford your mortgage and are facing a possible foreclosure, you may not be as distressed to learn of a possible eminent domain action so long as you received enough compensation for your land. If the fair value of your land is more than your mortgage balance, you may get out from under your mortgage and start over on a new property all at the same time.

This situation is generally not as simple at is may seem at first, however, for different reasons. First, if you owe more on your mortgage than the city offers to pay you, you may understandably be reluctant to accept the offer. In such a situation, you and your attorney will have to negotiate with the city to ensure you receive the full amount you deserve for the condemnation, which can take time.

In the meantime, your mortgage lender may try to be involved in the condemnation case to negotiate for a higher compensation value for the land it is trying to foreclose upon. In one case out of New Jersey,1 a landowner did not properly reject the offer from the city for the condemnation. Because a foreclosure case was pending, the lender tried to intervene, stating that it had the right to negotiate in the eminent domain case.

The NJ court, however, ruled that only the entity that held actual title/deed to the land had the right to negotiate. If a lender has not yet completed the foreclosure and received the deed, it does not have the right to be involved in negotiations.

Call Experienced Condemnation Lawyers in New Jersey for Assistance

Eminent domain cases can become significantly more complicated if your property is in foreclosure. In addition, if you are behind on your mortgage, it is critical that you get enough compensation in your condemnation so you are not left with a mortgage balance and no property. If you have been notified of an eminent domain action regarding your land, you should discuss you situation with a skilled NJ eminent domain attorney as soon as possible. Call Sever Storey, LLP at 888-318-3761.



How Condemnation Can Affect Small Businesses


Hearing that the government wants to take the land on which you live is stressful, as you will need to figure out a new place to live if the condemnation is successful. However, if you run your own small business, learning there may be a condemnation of your business property can be even more worrisome. Whether you own or lease your business space, having the property condemned will require you to uproot your entire operation and find another location that is just as desirable. Such a move can cause an interruption in business and can greatly affect your profits, which can cause financial problems for you and your family.

For example, one Kentucky man built a small business out of his home into an interstate food distribution operation that reportedly brings in $400,000 on an annual basis. His business sits on seven acres and includes a warehouse, loading dock, and plans to expand onto the empty parts of the property. However, the city of Shelbyville, Kentucky is exercising eminent domain powers1 to seize the land for a “public project.” The city offered him $150,000 for the land and, not surprisingly, the owner is contesting the offer.

In such a situation, if condemnation is inevitable, small business owners have the right to fight to ensure they receive just compensation for their property under the law2 to ensure they have the capital to set up their business elsewhere. This is no easy task, however, the success of the business often depends on the compensation you are able to secure in the eminent domain action.

Call an Experienced Kentucky Eminent Domain Attorney for Help Today

Having your small business be the focus of an eminent domain action can completely change your life. Your hard work, livelihood, and financial well-being of your family may be in jeopardy and you do not want to risk losing significant value for your business and property. At the law office of Sever Storey, LLP, our skilled Kentucky condemnation lawyers have helped many small business owners in Kentucky come out on top in these cases. For more information about how we can help you, please call us at 888-318-3761 today.



Can You Appeal An Eminent Domain Decision?



If you receive notice of a potential Illinois eminent domain action that will affect your property, you have the right to legally challenge the condemnation if there is a basis on which to do so. Some common reasons to challenge the condemnation of your property in court may include the following:

●    The condemnation is not intended for “public use” as required by the 5th Amendment to the United States Constitution;1
●    Your property is not actually necessary for the project to be completed;
●    The hardship that would result from the condemnation outweighs the benefits.

Challenges are not always successful, however, and a recent case out of Illinois is an example of how a company tried unsuccessfully to fight against an eminent domain action for part of its property.

While railroads can often be the reason behind eminent domain cases, in this case, Canadian Pacific Railroad is fighting against seizure of part of a railyard after the Illinois Tollway Authority had filed a notice that it intended to take part of the railyard. The Railroad claimed hardship on the part of the Tollway, taxpayers, and interstate commerce if the highway was built through the railyard. The court, however, disagreed and denied the injunction that would stop the seizure of the land. This leads to the question: Can you appeal an eminent domain decision that is against your interests as a landowner?

The answer is yes, and the Railroad has filed an appeal of the decision2 in lower Illinois courts. Landowners do have the ability to appeal a decision to higher courts, just as in many other types of legal actions. You need an attorney on your side who can advise you whether you should appeal and who knows how the appeal process works.

Find Out How an Experienced Condemnation Lawyer Can Help You

Receiving an adverse decision in an eminent domain case can be distressing. However, as a landowner, it is important to know that you do have options to negotiate and appeal in your case. Even if the condemnation moves forward, an experienced eminent domain attorney can still protect your rights by ensuring that you receive the compensation for your property that you deserve through negotiations and independent appraisals. If you are a landowner facing possible condemnation, please call the law office of Sever Storey, LLP at 888-318-3761 for more information about how we can help you.




Will Your Eminent Domain Case Go To Trial?


When the government authorizes an eminent domain action regarding your land, the government will make an offer to compensate you for your property. All too often, this offer is grossly inadequate and you have the right to contest the offer and demand what you believe is the fair value of your property. If the government does not agree to your price, an eminent domain attorney can engage in negotiations, using appraisals and other tools to help you obtain fair compensation. However, if the government refuses to agree to a fair value, your case can go to trial before the court.

Fighting for Fair Compensation

One landowner in Illinois may be heading to trial1 regarding his eminent domain case. This landowner has had experience with the condemnation process before, as the city of Rockford has previously seized land from him in the 1990s and the Illinois Department of Transportation secured a temporary easement to use his property in 2013. Now, the city once again wants to seize three properties to turn into parking lots. The city reportedly offered $490,000 for the properties, while the landowner maintains he deserves $895,000 for the condemnation. If they do not reach an agreement soon, the case will go to trial.

Eminent domain cases rarely make it all the way to trial. The court will require pretrial conferences2 for negotiation and you may engage in mediation to try to come to a favorable agreement in order to avoid the time and expense of trial. In some cases, though, the city refuses to make a reasonable offer and a landowner does have the right to a trial to stand up for their rights to the fair and just value of their land.

Discuss Your Case with an Illinois Eminent Domain Attorney Today

In many situations, trial can be avoided in an eminent domain case and your matter can be resolved through out-of-court negotiations. However, if your case goes make it to trial, you want a law firm on your side that has extensive litigation experience in eminent domain cases. If your landowner rights are being threatened, call the condemnation attorneys at Sever Storey, LLP at 888-318-3761 today.



Can An Ohio Landowner Challenge Eminent Domain?


If you are an Ohio landowner, and the government or other entity is attempting to take your property, it is important to understand if a landowner can challenge or object to eminent domain.  In a short answer, yes, the landowner can object.

The landowner needs to receive fair notice, meaning having enough time to seek advice of an attorney and prepare an objection against the government. It will give the landowner the chance to be heard if an actual taking has happened, and if the taking was for public use and if the owner received fair compensation.

There must be good faith negotiations with the landowner and the government, and fair compensation to be given, if an eminent domain action is about to commence. The landowner will first receive a letter of intent. Describing the property, this notice determines what it will be used for and what the monetary offer will be. Clearly, there will be a lot of negotiating at this critical point. A formal condemnation action[1] may be started if an agreeable compensation amount cannot be agreed upon.

Eminent Domain for Economic Development

For more than 50 years, Ohio law considered the promotion of economic development alone to be a public purpose warranting the exercise of eminent domain. But the law changed in 2007 to ensure that private property cannot be taken on the basis of economic development alone. Instead, the property involved must be deemed “blighted.” This change ensured that the public purpose for taking property on the basis of economic development is tied to the elimination of blight and the redevelopment of property for the public's benefit. 

Under Ohio law, a property can be considered “blighted” if it is unsafe for human habitation or use, poses a direct threat to public health or safety, or has unpaid taxes or assessments that exceed the fair value of the land. If an entire area is targeted to be taken through eminent domain[2], at least 70 percent of that area must be deemed blighted.

Contact an Ohio Condemnation Attorney

Landowners who believe they may be affected by eminent domain should contact an attorney as soon as possible. The lawyers of Sever Storey, LLP are dedicated to protecting the rights of landowners and ensuring that each client they represent obtains the full and fair value of any taking of their property that may occur. We represent both commercial and residential landowners in disputes ranging from small setbacks to takings involving millions of dollars. Please call today at 888-318-3761 for help.



Indiana Great Lakes Basin Railroad


Great Lakes Basin Transportation[1], Inc. proposes to construct a new railroad line around the metropolitan Chicago area.  The purpose of the new railroad is to expedite freight movements across the nation and to provide additional capacity for growing railroad traffic.

The Great Lakes Basin is a large railroad project extending from part of Indiana, through Illinois and into the southern part of Wisconsin. The privately funded Great Lakes Basin Transportation, Inc., (GLBT) plans to provide an $8 billion, 278-mile rail line[2] to circumvent Chicago's hub from Janesville, Wisconsin, south to Rockford, into Grundy County, Kankakee County, and into Lake, Porter and LaPorte Counties in Indiana.

In recent weeks, the Federal Surface Transportation Board has conducted public meetings throughout the region, seeking input and drawing lots of opposition from area farmers. Next, the STB is expected to complete an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), a two- to three-year process, and then decide if it will approve or deny the project, or change the route.

Compensation for Indiana and Illinois Landowners

The main issue for impacted owners is will they be fairly compensated by Great Lakes Basin Railroad. The co-founder, Frank Patton, mentioned that they would be paid $20,000 an acre, pro-rated to the 200 foot right of way strip needed for the rails. There are many issues including impacting farmer operations, decreased overall land value and other issues such as access, tile and the potential impact on wetlands.

In a decision issued on April 8, 2016, the Office of Environmental Analysis (OEA) announced to the public and all interested parties that the comment period for the EIS Draft Scope of Study will be extended an additional 30 days to June 15, 2016.

Contact an Indiana Condemnation Attorney

If you are an Indiana landowner and you believe that you and your land will be impacted by the proposed Great Lakes Basin Railroad project, the skilled Indiana condemnation attorneys at Sever Storey LLP have the experience necessary to review your situation and determine what steps are necessary to protect your interests. Please call today at 888-318-3761 for help.



North Carolina Transportation Corridor Map Act


In the state of North Carolina, the Transportation Corridor Map Act[1] allows the Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to file official roadway maps listing and mapping properties that are in the path of a proposed roadway in order to create a "protected corridor" that it may use in the future for highway bypass projects.  NCDOT used their powers under what has become known as the “Map Act” in projects throughout the state, including the Winston-Salem Northern Beltway, the Greensboro Urban Loop Project, and the Monroe Bypass, among others. North Carolina land owners in areas and projects affected by the Map Act were prevented from obtaining building permits, making improvements on their property, and subdividing or developing their land. Protected corridor designations also effectively made properties unsellable because real estate market buyers knew a parcel would likely be taken by eminent domain.

North Carolina Supreme Court Decision

On June 10, 2016, in the case of Kirby v. NCDOT[2], the North Carolina Supreme Court determined that the maps were harmful to land owners based upon their removal of land owners’ rights to sell, improve or modify their property and that the maps amounted to a taking of landowners’ property without just compensation thereby exercising the government's power of eminent domain.  The Supreme Court further decided that North Carolina land owners are allowed to seek damages for their losses including:

•    The value of the land rights that have been taken from land owners

•    Annual interest back to the date of the Transportation Corridor Official Map filings

•    Attorneys fees

•    Expenses and reimbursement for back taxes paid

The Supreme Court decision has implications that go beyond the Map Act and the taking of property for road-building. Had the ruling gone the other way, it might well have opened the door to uncompensated takings[3] in various other situations, as well. There are many situations where the state might want to lower the value of property by indefinitely banning development, so it can then take the property at a later date in order to use it for a public project.

Contact a North Carolina Condemnation Attorney

If you are a North Carolina landowner who has been affected by the Transportation Corridor Map Act, it is important to contact an experienced North Carolina condemnation attorney as soon as possible. The team of skilled lawyers of Sever Storey, LLP, were the first to file cases in Guilford County for the Greensboro Urban Loop[4] after the North Carolina Supreme Court ruling and have helped lead the way to protecting the legal rights of North Carolina Property owners.  They understand the value of your land, how it is adversely affected by eminent domain, and the potential claims and compensation that the law allows.  Please call today at 888-318-3761 for help.



Eminent Domain Allowed In Ohio To Obtain Propane And Butane



In February 2016, Ohio Judge T. Shawn Hervey issued a ruling in the case of “Sunoco Pipeline L.P.[1] vs. Carol A. Teter, trustee of the Carol A. Teter Revocable Living Trust et. al.” In his decision, Judge Hervey ruled that liquefied propane[2] and butane are considered petroleum.  

Based upon the court’s decision, Sunoco Pipeline, L.P.[3] can now use eminent domain pursuant to the Ohio Revised Code to gain permanent and temporary easements across the Teter farm in order to put the pipeline through the land.  Sunoco is building the Mariner East 2 Pipeline which will run from Scio, Ohio, to Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania, carrying liquefied propane and butane.  

The lawsuit was initially filed in May of 2015 by Sunoco Pipeline against Teter at a time when the Teters were the last landowners in the line of the Sunoco Pipeline in Harrison County that did not have an easement for the Sunoco Pipeline.  The Teter family purchased the 162-acre farm in 2001 with an existing Enterprise Pipeline on the property. Then, in 2010, the APEX pipeline was built along the existing pipeline, both of which are on the south end of the Teter property.  The Teter family had argued, in part, that Sunoco is not a “common carrier” and that liquefied propane and butane are not considered petroleum under the terms of the Ohio Revised Code.  

Judge Hervey ruled in favor of Sunoco and found that pure liquefied propane and butane meet Ohio’s statutory definition of “petroleum” in the Ohio Revised Code.

He also said the pipeline is a common carrier and that it is necessary to transport propane and butane. He added that the pipeline services a public use providing consumers access to Ohio products.  Although the landowners did not win at the county court level, they are appealing it to the Seventh District Court of Appeals with plans to continue to the Ohio Supreme court if necessary.  

Contact an Ohio Condemnation Attorney

Landowners who believe they may be affected by the Sunoco Pipeline or any other Ohio project should contact an eminent domain attorney as soon as possible. The lawyers of Sever Storey, LLP are dedicated to protecting the rights of landowners and ensuring that each client they represent obtains the full and fair value of any taking of their property that may occur. We represent both commercial and residential landowners in disputes ranging from small setbacks to takings involving millions of dollars. Please call today at 888-318-3761 for help.




North Carolina Business Condemnation


Under the power of eminent domain[1], a governmental entity can take business property as well as residential property.  When that occurs, many North Carolina business owners are surprised to learn that business losses caused by condemnation are not factored into the offer of compensation.  Unfortunately, except in rare instances, the government will not pay for lost business profits or for the interruption of business during construction.

Business Property Rights

It is important to speak to an experienced North Carolina business condemnation attorney to make sure that you are treated fairly and that you are paid what you are owed for the taking of your business property.  The United States Constitution and North Carolina law provide that you are entitled to “just compensation” when the government takes your private property for a public use.  The government will hire an appraiser and offer to purchase your property based on that appraiser’s valuation of your property.  Unfortunately, in many cases, the government fails to recognize all of the factors that determine the value of commercial property. Not only are you losing a business location through eminent domain, but a loss of the property could also have a significant impact on the viability of your business.

There are a number of factors that can impact the value of your business. Some of the factors that may not have been considered in the government's appraisal include:

•    Commuter traffic
•    Visibility to potential customers
•    Location
•    Parking

Contact a North Carolina Business Condemnation Attorney

The condemnation process can be long and confusing with risk and uncertainty, even for savvy landowners and long-time business owners.  If you are a business owner who is losing their property to condemnation, contact a North Carolina business condemnation attorney as soon as possible. The lawyers of Sever Storey, LLP, understand the commercial value of businesses and how they are adversely affected by eminent domain.  Our team of experienced attorneys will develop an intricate plan, which may include business appraisers to address the manner in which your business has been negatively impacted, as well as other concerns specific to commercial clients.  Please call today at 888-318-3761 for help.




The Importance Of An Indiana “Date Of Take”


Eminent domain is the authority of the government to take private property for public use.  Condemnation is the process by which such takings are achieved. The process of condemnation begins with the identification of a public need and a determination by the relevant governmental body that it is necessary to acquire private property to fill the identified public need. Most often there will be a period of public hearings where the issues are debated and the authority granted. Once the project is approved, the condemning authority will contact the property owners in an effort to purchase the needed property.

What is the Date of Value?

Because land values change over time, in order to make a present value determination, a court or a legislature must set a date on which to value the property in a condemnation case.  The date of take is critical in an Indiana condemnation process because it sets the date of value, the “as of” date for all appraisals.

The appraisal date (or effective date) of the appraisal obtained by the governmental entity that is attempting to take your property will be the date of the last inspection by the appraiser. Once a condemnation case is filed, the Court, by law, establishes a new appraisal date, commonly referred to as the “date of take”[1], and it is the date the landowners are served with a copy of the Notice to Appear[2] in court and the Complaint for Appropriation of Real Estate.  Since the effective date of the original appraisal may be from 6 months to several years before the date of take, it is frequently necessary to update the appraisal to correspond with the “date of take”.

The relevance of the date of take in pre-condemnation planning is significant. The landowner is entitled to use their property and improve it until a taking occurs. Any improvements made after that date will not be valued when calculating the condemnation award. That date also determines the relevance of proactive pre-condemnation activity to position the property advantageously and/or to acquire easements or access opportunities prior to the condemnation.

Contact an Indiana Condemnation Attorney

If you are an Indiana landowner and you believe that the government is starting condemnation proceedings, the experienced condemnation attorneys at Sever Storey LLP have the experience necessary to review the date of take and determine what steps are necessary to protect your interests. Please call today at 888-318-3761 for help.




Educational Videos

Sever Storey is passionate about helping landowners. We have created a video library packed with knowledge and information to help landowners gain more facts about the eminent domain process. Please watch the video's and let us know if you have any questions that we can help answer.



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