eminent-domain-lawThe Fifth Amendment of the United States requires that any taking of private property under eminent domain powers be for “public use.” Over the years, the interpretation of public use has been expanded significantly by the courts, allowing the government to claim property for private commercial developments as long as the project will promote economic development in the area. Economic development can include increasing tax revenue, creating employment, or simply improving the general economic state of the area. Through this interpretation, many landowners have seen had their homes taken from them and torn down to make way for large shopping centers or other commercial enterprises.

Now, however, a law has been proposed in U.S. Congress by House Representative Jim Sensenbrenner to prohibit the government from taking private property simply for economic development purposes. The Private Property Rights Protection Act (PPRPA) would allow landowners affected by such takings a cause of action in court against the government and would render local or state governments ineligible for federal money for a period of time if they violate the PPRPA.

Many eminent domain takings would still be lawful, however, including for the following:

  • Roads and highways
  • Airports and military bases
  • Hospitals
  • Railroads
  • Utility company projects
  • Taking over abandoned property

Many versions of this bill have been proposed and have failed since the court case2 allowing takings for “economic development” was decided in 2005, and it is yet to be seen whether the new version of the bill will be successful.

Contact an experienced eminent domain attorney for a free consultation

The laws regarding property ownership and eminent domain are constantly changing and evolving. At the law office of Sever Storey, LLP, our condemnation lawyers stay apprised of any changes in any laws related to eminent domain and the rights of landowners. We are familiar with court decisions and legal proposals so that we can best serve every single client we have that is facing an eminent domain taking. We provide the highest quality for representation in condemnation cases, so please call us today at 888-318-3761 for help.

1 https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/3013