Sever | Storey Blog

Mineral Rights in an Eminent Domain Case


An issue that occasionally arises in eminent domain cases is that of the valuation of mineral rights.1 In some cases, the value of mineral rights may actually be worth more than the value of a landowner’s surface rights. As a result, it is extremely important for people who are facing condemnation proceedings to ensure that their legal right to just compensation is protected by retaining an attorney who is familiar with litigating eminent domain cases. In the meantime, the information below can help landowners determine whether mineral rights may be at issue in their case. To schedule a free case review with one of the eminent domain attorneys at Sever Storey, please call our office today at 888.318.3761.

What are mineral rights?

Mineral rights are a type of interest in real property that allows the owner of that interest to exploit the mineral resources attached to the land. In many instances, mineral rights are severed from the other property rights associated with a piece of land, so many landowners may not own the mineral rights to the resources found on their property. When this is the case, mineral rights will likely not be an issue in a condemnation case.

Will I be compensated for my mineral rights?

One of the fundamental principles at work in eminent domain cases is that landowners are required to receive just compensation2 for the property that is being taken. As a result, anyone who is subject to a condemnation action is legally required to be compensated for any mineral rights they may own.

What are some examples of resources in which I may have mineral rights?

Mineral rights can apply to many removable resources that can be found in and a parcel of land, including the following:

  • Oil
  • Gas
  • Metallic ores
  • Coal
  • Salt
  • Dimension stone
  • Gemstones

Contact an eminent domain attorney today to schedule a free consultation

Mineral rights cases can be extremely complicated and should be handled with the assistance of an experienced eminent domain lawyer. With offices in Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina, and Ohio, we have the resources to assist landowners over a wide geographic area. In addition, Sever Storey has a network of attorneys in place so that we can provide assistance to clients in states where we do not currently maintain an office. To schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers, please call our office today at 888.318.3761.





Illiana Expressway remains on pause in Ill. transport plan

no illiana

A proposed $8.4 billion Illinois highway plan unveiled last week includes $118 million for preliminary work on the Illiana Expressway, but the 50-mile toll road project remains in limbo, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Gov. Bruce Rauner's inauguration day executive order putting the $1.5 billion Illiana Expressway under review remains in place, according to Illinois Department of Transportation spokesman Guy Tridgell.

"Overall status remains unchanged," Tridgell stated in an email sent in response to an inquiry on the Illiana Expressway. "On pause and under review. No timeline as to when the review process will be complete."

The multi-year highway construction plan unveiled by IDOT last week specifies funding amounts for several projects needed to get Illiana Expressway construction underway. It specifies $73.1 million for moving utilities, $20 million for land acquisition, $18.1 million for engineering work and $6.8 million for wetland mitigation.

Full story here.

If you think you may be affected by the Illiana Project and/or are interested in a free consultation, contact our eminent domain landowner attorneys at 1-888-318-3761 or visit us on the web at

Photo: Shelton, D (photographer). (2015). Retrieved From:

Decision could come soon in Grain Belt Express Clean Line project


The Missouri Public Service Commission may soon announce their decision to approve or deny a controversial power line that would go through Mid-Missouri.GBX-power distribution map

The Grain Belt Express Clean Line would run more than 700 miles from Kansas to Indiana, passing through northern Mid-Missouri.

The project promises to provide clean and affordable energy.

However, residents in Chariton, Randolph and Monroe counties are worried about their property value, crop irrigation, and adverse health effects.
Ralls County commissioners once supported the line, however, this week reiterated to the PSC the fact they are very much against it.

Full story here.

If you think you may be affected by the Grain Belt Express Clean Line Project and/or are interested in a free consultation, contact our eminent domain landowner attorneys at 1-888-318-3761 or visit us on the web at

Boone County Residents Speak Out Against Pipeline


BOONE COUNTY, Iowa — A few dozen people met in Boone County Thursday to speak out against a proposed oil pipeline that would run through Iowa.

“You are not going to come and put your pipeline through our farm,” Arlene Bates of Boone County told the crowd, “We’ve had this farm for too many years. And it’s not going to be an asset for my family, to my daughters who I pass this farm to. And it’s not helping out this community.”dakota Access-IA

The pipeline would transport oil from North Dakota to Illinois. And while the company is offering fair market value to landowners, eminent domain, which would allow the company to take private land over a property owners objections, is not off the table. That and environmental concerns are what folks talked most about Thursday night.

Full story here.
If you think you may be affected by the Dakota Access Pipeline Project and/or are interested in a free consultation, contact our eminent domain landowner attorneys at 1-888-318-3761 or visit us on the web at

How Will My Property Be Valued in an Eminent Domain Case?


The 5th Amendment of the United States Constitution1 expressly states that the government cannot, under any circumstances, take any landowner's property from them “without just compensation.” This immediately leads to the question: what constitutes “just compensation” for a particular piece of land? Courts have decided that just compensation is the “fair market value2 of the specific property it is acquiring. However, landowners facing condemnation then often wonder: how does the government go about determining fair market value?

Fair market value is assumed to be the amount a willing buyer would pay and a willing seller would charge for the property at the time of the taking. However, because every piece of land is unique, the same appraisal method does not necessary work in every case. As such, there are three different types of appraisal methods that could be used, including:

  • Comparing the property to other properties on the market
  • If there is no comparable property, evaluate the net income derived from the land itself
  • If neither above methods are applicable, determine the difference between the cost of the land and the depreciation that has occurred.

In addition to fair market value, many landowners qualify to receive certain relocation allowances if they have to move important fixtures or personal property from the land taken.

Unfortunately, though these appraisal methods should be reliable in most cases, the large majority of landowners are offered substantially less than they deserve by the government. An experienced eminent domain lawyer can help landowners determine the true fair market value so they truly receive just compensation if their land is taken.

Contact an experienced Indiana eminent domain attorney for help today

If your property is the target of condemnation by the government, your first call should be to the law firm of Sever Storey to discuss your case. Our attorneys are committed to protecting the rights of landowners in eminent domain cases and making sure the condemnation is justified and that owners receive the full amount of just compensation they deserve if their land is taken. Please do not hesitate to call us toll-free at 888-318-3761 for help today.





Eminent Domain Takings for Public Use



The government’s ability to seize privately owned land through the power of eminent domain is well-established. This power, transported to the United States from English common law, is limited by the 5th Amendment1 of the United States Constitution in several important ways. In order for an exercise of the government’s power to be legitimate, the landowner from whom the property is taken must receive “just compensation” and the property must be taken for some “public use.”2 Of course, these terms are not self-defining, so it has been up to the courts to determine what exactly they mean in certain situations. In addition, the ambiguity of these terms also provides many property owners who are facing a condemnation proceeding ample opportunity to mount legal challenges to the government’s attempted exercise of its eminent domain power.


What is a “public use?”


Generally speaking, a “public use” is one that confers some benefit upon the public. Obvious examples of a taking that would be for a public use would include the expansion of a highway, the building of other infrastructure, schools, libraries, or police or fire stations. The courts, however, have taken a very broad and deferential view of what the term “public use” actually may entail. For example, the land taken does not need to be open to the public in order to constitute a public use. For example, a redevelopment project carried out by a private party could constitute a public use, as could any number of uses that may simply spur economic development in the area.


Contact an eminent domain attorney today to schedule a free consultation


Anyone who is facing the appropriation of their property through eminent domain should discuss their options with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Fortunately, in some cases, an attorney can successfully stop the government’s exercise of its eminent domain power. Furthermore, even if the condemnation ultimately takes place, an experienced eminent domain lawyer can often have a significant impact on the amount of compensation a landowner ultimately receives. To schedule a free case evaluation with one of our attorneys, please call Sever Storey today at 888.318.3761.








What is Inverse Condemnation?


Under the 5th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States,1 the government has the power to take private property when it is needed for public use. The 5th Amendment also requires that the government pay reasonable compensation to the landowner in exchange for the taking. Unfortunately, in some situations, the government fails to adequately compensate the landowner for the taking of their property in violation of the 5th Amendment. In such cases, the landowner can file a legal action against the government called an inverse condemnation action.

Common inverse condemnation scenarios

Actions for inverse condemnation can arise out of a variety of actions by the government, including the following:

  • A physical seizure of the property (e.g. flooding, depriving the owner of access to the land, the government remaining on the property after a lease expires, and more)
  • A regulatory taking,2 which occurs when overly strict regulations effectively render the property unusable for a viable purpose.
  • Taking a lesser property interest, such as an easement, in the property.
  • Damaging the property.
  • Taking of personal property, intellectual property, or contracts.

Unique issue in an inverse condemnation case

Unlike a traditional condemnation case, an inverse condemnation case puts the landowner in the plaintiff position and the government on the defense. There are also often additional steps in the inverse condemnation process than in a regular condemnation case. For example, in a condemnation case, the government admits that a taking occurred and the main question is the amount of adequate compensation that should be paid to the landowner. In an inverse condemnation case, however, there are two main legal issues: 1) whether a taking occurred to begin with, and 2) the deserved compensation. Often, there are two separate trials to determine each  issue separately. For this reason and more, inverse condemnation cases can be extremely complex.

Contact an experienced eminent domain and condemnation lawyer for assistance today

Filing a lawsuit against the government can be intimidating as government agencies all have teams of attorneys prepared to represent them. For this reason, you must also always ensure that you have the highest quality of representation for yourself by a skilled lawyer with experience in inverse condemnation cases.  Contact the experienced attorneys at Sever Storey today at 888-318-3761 for a free case evaluation today.





Committee defeats House bill that would stop wind energy project


When the Missouri House Energy and Environment Committee on Tuesday voted down a bill that would have prohibited the use of eminent domain for Grain Belt Express Clean Line’s proposed wind power transmission project, company officials said the bill’s rejection amounted to a show of support for the project.The committee voted down HB 1027, sponsored by Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Frankford.transmission elp 1

With the vote this morning Missouri lawmakers have demonstrated that they stand behind market based solutions to bring low-cost, renewable energy to the state,” said Mark Lawlor, director of development for Clean Line Energy. He touted the Grain Belt project, which will bisect the southern portion of Randolph County, as a project to deliver enough low-cost clean power to Missouri through a direct connection to the electric grid to power 200,000 homes.

Full story here.

If you think you may be affected by the Grain Belt Express Clean Line Project and/or are interested in a free consultation, contact our eminent domain landowner attorneys at 1-888-318-3761 or visit us on the web at

Eminent domain changes clear Iowa House, Senate panels



DES MOINES — Legislation making it more difficult for private companies to acquire access to private property through condemnation cleared two subcommittee Tuesday and appears to be on the fast track in both the House and Senate.

Subcommittees in both chambers signed off on Senate Study Bill 1276 to change the process for private companies to build underground pipelines and overhead transmission lines. It grows out of concern and frustration with two specific projects: the Rock Island Clean Line, that would carry electricity across the state, and the Bakken oil pipeline, which would go through 17 Iowa counties as part of a connection between oil fields in North Dakota and Pakota, Illinois.

The companies behind those projects told a House-Senate subcommittee on the bill they intend to get voluntary easements on 90 percent of the property they need. Neither is close to that goal and landowners say they are resisting often heavy-handed attempts to get them to sign easements.

Full story here.

If you think you may be affected by the Rock Island Clean Line Project and/or are interested in a free consultation, contact our eminent domain landowner attorneys at 1-888-318-3761 or visit us on the web at 

Why Should I Hire an Eminent Domain Attorney?



Anyone who receives notice that their property is the subject of an eminent domain1 action should consult with an attorney who specializes in eminent domain, otherwise known as condemnation. Unfortunately, too many people avoid consulting a lawyer for a variety of reasons, including:

  • They believe the government would have their best interests in mind and would offer fair compensation.
  • They do not want to impede progress for the “public good.”
  • They are intimidated and believe there is no other option but to cooperate.

None of the above assumptions are accurate, however, and landowners can protect their rights and obtain the maximum amount of compensation with the help of an experienced condemnation attorney. An attorney can help you in the following ways and more:

Advise you of your rights

Government agencies cannot simply come in and take any property that they want. First, the 5th Amendment2 requires that they adequately demonstrate that the condemnation will truly be for public use and meet other criteria. You have the right to require the state to meet the criteria prior to taking your property. Additionally, if only part of your property is actually necessary, you have the right to protect your ownership of the rest of your property that is not needed for the project.

 Ensure you receive fair compensation

The government, like anyone else, is trying to conserve funds. For this reason, the first offer for your property is often the lowest amount it deems possible and rarely constitutes full reasonable compensation. An attorney has the resources to help you receive the amount you deserve for the value of your property, relocation expenses, and more.

 Guide you through a complication process

Eminent domain cases and related laws are complex and can be confusing to the average property owner. A skilled lawyer can help guide you through every step of the process and can represent you in every stage of your case to protect your rights.

If you are a landowner and the government wants to take your property under eminent domain, you should always contact an experienced condemnation attorney as soon as possible. Call the office of Sever Storey today at 888-318-3761 to discuss your case.



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.



Indiana Kicks Off Search for Investors on Illiana

The state of Indiana on Tuesday issued a call for investors for its 12-mile portion of the Illiana Expressway, following a similar call Friday by Illinois for its 35-mile portion of the toll road.

The request for qualifications issued by the Indiana Department of Transportation and the...


Check Out Our Blog