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:
December 22nd, 2015 — In Articles
U.S. Supreme Court Asked to Consider Constitutional Challenge to California Zoning Ordinance
As we previously discussed, Owners’ Counsel of America (OCA) and the National Federation of Independent Business Small Business Legal Center (NFIB) have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review an important property rights case decided by the California Supreme Court earlier this year. If not overturned, the case, California Building Industry Association v. San Jose, No. 15-330 (September 16, 2015), could set a damaging precedent that allows California agencies to impair the value of private property without paying the property owners just compensation.
December 14th, 2015 — In Articles
Florida Court Upholds Attorneys’ Fees Award for ‘Excessive Litigation’ in Condemnation Cases
When the government takes a private citizen’s land through the exercise of eminent domain, it is obligated to pay the landowner “just compensation” for the property taken. This requirement is established by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the constitutions in all 50 states, and it serves to protect the fundamental rights of landowners across America. But, this begs the question: What is just compensation? How is it calculated, and who gets to decide?
December 14th, 2015 — In News & Events
ALI-CLE Eminent Domain and Land Valuation Litigation Course 2016
Eminent domain attorneys, appraisers, engineers and other professionals in the field of eminent domain, property rights and land valuation litigation will gather this January to discuss the hot topics, newest cases and emerging issues impacting eminent domain law and those who practice in this area. The 33rd Annual American Law Institute Eminent Domain and Land Valuation Litigation course is scheduled to take place January 28-30 at the Hotel Van Zandt in Austin, Texas.
November 30th, 2015 — In Articles
How is Property Valued in a Condemnation Proceeding?
When a government agency, utility, energy company or other entity takes private property through eminent domain (known as “condemnation”), the landowner is entitled to the payment of just compensation. This right to just compensation is firmly established in the Fifth Amendment to the U.S Constitution, as well as state constitutions and laws across the country. But, what does it mean for compensation to be “just,” and who decides what is a just amount? Someone has to place a value on the land taken. And, when the “taking” involves an easement or regulation, the property owner’s losses may not be strictly tied to the value of the affected property.
November 9th, 2015 — In News & Events
New Jersey Beachfront Residents Represented by OCA Attorney Sue to Prevent Use of Eminent Domain
In October, a group of New Jersey beachfront homeowners brought suit against the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) seeking to prevent the agency’s use of eminent domain. Represented by eminent domain lawyer and OCA New Jersey representative Anthony DellaPelle, the property owners argue that the DEP’s plan to construct protective sand dunes on their properties would prevent them from taking their own precautions to avoid damage to their homes and land.
November 2nd, 2015 — In Articles
Easements and Restrictive Covenants: When the Government Takes Without Taking
When most people think about eminent domain and the condemnation of private property, they imagine the government acquiring a citizen’s private property and converting it to a public use. While this is often the case, it is not the only way that the government can acquire private property. Governments may claim “non-possessory” rights in private land. Such rights allow the government to either (i) use, or (ii) place restrictions on a landowner’s use of private property.