Eminent domain gives government entities the right to purchase land from citizens, at
a just price, to obtain for public use. Although eminent domain is an
established right of the government, citizens do have the right to dispute
claims and fight terms of an eminent domain case. It is not uncommon for
a person to bring an eminent domain case to court, for various reasons,
- to help determine a fair price when property is taken
- to help determine the fairness of specific instances of eminent domain
Determining Just Compensation
One of the most common reasons that eminent domain cases are brought to
court is over disputes about just compensation. The takings clause in
the United States Constitution that established the government’s
power of eminent domain states, “…nor shall private property
be taken for public use, without just compensation.” The consideration
of “just compensation” is left up to interpretation. A person
can dispute an eminent domain claim in court if they feel that the government
has not offered them a fair amount of funds to purchase their property.
In general, just compensation means an amount that is equal to or greater
than the market value of a property. An eminent domain settlement or award
may include additional compensation that accounts for the cost of moving
out of a home, displacing a business, or other resulting damages.
Disputes and Appeals
Some cases that are brought to court center on whether an eminent domain
claim is fair at all. A property owner can dispute an eminent domain order
in court if they feel that the government is not within their rights to
acquire their property. These disputes can relate to the “public
use” consideration of eminent domain. The takings clause established
that property can only be purchased by the government under the powers
of eminent domain if the property will be used to benefit the public.
A property owner can debate the government’s power of public domain
if there is evidence to show that the acquisition is an attempt to serve
private or business interests or is otherwise unjust.
If your property is the subject of an eminent domain case,
Allen Semelsberger & Kaelin, LLP can help. We can provide support if you are interested in disputing a
claim, want to ensure you receive just compensation, and in every area
of your case.
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