News & Resources
March 3rd, 2016 — In Articles
I Received a Condemnation Notice. What are My Rights?
If you received a condemnation notice or a notice that your property may be needed for a public project, it means that a federal, state or local government authority is seeking to acquire your property (or an interest in your property) using the power of eminent domain. Eminent domain is the power granted to the government and governmental agencies to seize private property for public use. This power is not absolute and as a property owner, you have a number of important legal rights. However, protecting these rights can be a challenge.
February 29th, 2016 — In News & Events
Virginia Property Rights Attorney Jeremy Hopkins Joins OCA
OCA is pleased to welcome eminent domain and property rights lawyer Jeremy P. Hopkins as the Virginia member of OCA’s nationwide network of eminent domain attorneys. Mr. Hopkins succeeds his partner, Joseph T. Waldo, who was a founding member of OCA and who has been named as an Emeritus Member of the association. OCA is grateful to Joe Waldo for his years of dedication and commitment to OCA and to defending property owners. We look forward to continuing to work together with Joe and Jeremy in Virginia and across the United States to protect and preserve private property rights.
February 22nd, 2016 — In Articles
Eminent Domain & Property Rights: Where Do the 2016 Presidential Candidates Stand on these Fundamental Issues?
Republican Presidential Candidates Discuss Their Opinions on Eminent Domain With the Presidential race heating up and the field of candidates narrowing down, more and more issues are revealing distinctions between the hopefuls for the Oval Office. Somewhat surprisingly, one issue that recently created a bit of controversy among Republican candidates was the issue of eminent domain. The current Republican front runners – Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio – have been attacking each others’ positions on this important issue and stating their own on the fundamental right to own property
February 11th, 2016 — In News & Events
Property Rights Lawyer Donald Joe Willis Honored With OCA’s 2016 Crystal Eagle Award
On January 30, 2016 Owners’ Counsel of America honored Oregon property rights, land use and condemnation attorney Donald Joe Willis with the Crystal Eagle Award for his advocacy over more than four decades on behalf of private property owners in land use, eminent domain and regulatory takings litigation throughout Oregon and nationally.
February 1st, 2016 — In Articles
Can Prohibiting Demolition Constitute a Taking?
While it is clearly a taking when the government institutes condemnation proceedings to acquire private property and demolish any improvements upon the land, it’s much less clear that the government has taken an owner’s property rights when it tries to prohibit demolition on the owner’s private property. This issue arose in a recent case decided by Ohio’s First District Court of Appeals on December 30, 2015. The short answer: In some cases, prohibiting demolition can constitute a taking of private property under the Fifth Amendment.
January 28th, 2016 — In Articles
Rails-to-Trails Takings: Property Owners’ Rights When Land Use Changes
In 1983, Congress enacted the federal National Trails System Act Amendment (known as the “Rails-to-Trails Act”) in order to preserve abandoned railroad rights of way by converting them into public recreational trails. Trails established under the Rails-to-Trails Act can range from walking and biking trails to green spaces for public use, such as the New York City High Line which was the subject of a recent takings case in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and a blog post.
January 25th, 2016 — In Articles
Georgia Court Rules Property Owners Are Entitled to Compensation and Attorneys’ Fees for Abandoned Condemnation Efforts
As we have previously discussed, while the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires payment of just compensation when the government exercises its power of eminent domain, several states have laws in place that provide property owners with additional financial remedies under certain circumstances. One such remedy that exists in many states is the ability to recover attorneys’ fees—typically when the government does something (such as making an unreasonably low compensation offer) that interferes with the property owners’ rights.
January 21st, 2016 — In Articles
The Government’s Offer Isn’t Always “Just” Compensation
In order to exercise the power of eminent domain, government agencies are required – by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution – to pay just compensation to the affected property owners. We discussed the Constitutional “just compensation” requirement in a previous post, which also highlighted some state laws that provide for additional compensation to individuals and businesses when private property is condemned by the government.
January 4th, 2016 — In Articles
Can Eminent Domain Be Used to Acquire Natural Gas and Water Rights?
In most eminent domain cases, property owners are fighting to protect their land from condemnation. Whether for a public park, road, hospital, or utility, the government most often uses its power of eminent domain to obtain the right to build on private property. But, what if the government isn’t seeking to take your property, but rather the resources beneath it? This presents an important question for landowners in resource-rich states like California, Montana, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and others. Recently, cases and proposed statutes affecting private property owners’ natural gas and water rights have brought this issue to the forefront.
December 28th, 2015 — In Articles
When Can Property Owners Challenge Eminent Domain?
While state and federal government agencies have the power of eminent domain – to take private property for public use – that power is not unlimited. Eminent domain power is limited by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and by individual state constitutions and laws. If the government seeks to take your property, there are potential defenses an eminent domain attorney may employ to challenge the taking. While certain defenses challenge the condemnation outright, others focus on ensuring that you receive just compensation for the taking of your property. In this article, we provide a brief overview of four of the most common defenses to condemnation: