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The News & Observer has reported that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline began suing property owners who were refusing to sell their land for a planned natural gas pipeline. In late 2017, the energy consortium filed seven condemnation actions in U.S. District Court against landowners in Cumberland and Nash Counties. According to the report, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline could file hundreds more eminent domain actions in the coming months.
The proposed project involves the installation of a natural gas pipeline that would run through eight North Carolina counties. The pipeline would cross the state starting at Virginia border to just north of the South Carolina border.
Typically, public infrastructure projects like these clearly meet the “public use” requirement of eminent domain law. As a result, if the pipeline obtains the necessary approval from various federal and state agencies, it will likely get installed as planned. The company, however, must still provide any affected landowners with just compensation, an issue that often leads to significant disputes. In cases where landowners refuse to sell, the party exercising eminent domain can file a lawsuit to force the landowner to sell.
Not surprisingly, parties exercising eminent domain often make offers that are far less than what a landowner thinks a property is worth. The most effective thing that landowners can do to ensure that they obtain the compensation to which they are entitled under the law is to retain an experienced eminent domain lawyer. A lawyer will determine the best and highest use of a particular piece of land and also determine which of the various appraisal methods is most appropriate for the property in question.
By taking these steps, an attorney can make sure that any offer that you accept adequately compensates you for the taking of your property. In some cases, your lawyer may file an inverse condemnation action against the condemning authority to ensure that you get the compensation to which you are entitled.
Many landowners are hesitant to talk to an attorney because they are worried about how much it will cost. At Sever Storey, we only charge legal fees if we are able to increase the amount of money you are offered for your property. If we do, we will only take one-third of the value that we add. For example, if you are initially offered $150,000 for your property but we are able to negotiate a sale for $300,000, you would receive $250,000 for your property. For more questions about the way our contingent fees work, please call Sever Storey to speak with one of our attorneys.
If you are a landowner who may be affected by the Atlantic Coast Pipeline or any other project using eminent domain to seize private property, speak to an attorney as soon as you can. At Sever Storey, we are dedicated to helping landowners obtain just compensation for their properties and are not afraid to stand up to large corporations and local governments on behalf of our clients. To schedule a free case review with one of our lawyers, send us an email or call our office today at (888) 318-3761.
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