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The Indiana State Legislature is considering a bill that would make it more difficult for railroad companies to use eminent domain to seize private property, according to a report published at NWI.com. Indiana House Bill 1260 would require that railroad companies in the state demonstrate that the proposed taking is for a public use – just like any other party seeking to exercise eminent domain.
According to the bill’s author, Representative Ed Soliday (R-Valparaiso), existing Indiana law from the 1800s allows railroads of any size virtually unlimited use of eminent domain. The Times quoted Soliday as saying: “Under the current law you can just say, ‘I want to build a railroad; give me your land and I’ll pay you. (This) raises the bar that you do need to have a compelling public need for the eminent domain.”
The bill was introduced in response to negative reaction to a plan by Great Lakes Basin Transportation to use eminent domain to take a 200-foot corridor for a proposed railway that would connect southeast Wisconsin to Northwest Indiana.
While this bill seeks to limit the use of eminent domain, in many cases, the proposed taking is valid, meaning there is little that landowners can do to stop it. When this is the case, it is important for landowners to recognize that they have rights – including the right to just compensation. The determination of just compensation can be complicated, and parties exercising eminent domain to take property often make unreasonably low offers to landowners hoping that they will simply accept them and move on. For this reason, it is critical for any landowner facing an eminent domain action to retain an attorney familiar with the law who can ensure that they receive the compensation to which they are legally entitled.
If the government or a private company is attempting to seize your property through eminent domain, it is imperative that you retain legal counsel as soon as possible. Even in cases where the exercise of eminent domain is uncontested, it is important to have a lawyer to ensure the compensation you receive is reasonable and fair. For a free case review with one of our lawyers, call Sever Storey today at 888-318-3761 or contact us online.
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