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?
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 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.
October 28th, 2015 — In Articles
The Keystone XL Pipeline Isn’t the Only Pipeline Concerning Property Owners
We have talked a lot recently about the ongoing debate and eminent domain issues involving TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL Pipeline across the western United States. But, this is by no means the only pipeline activity going on in the country. In fact, up and down the East Coast, property owners – many of whom are represented by our eminent domain lawyers – are battling to protect their land against a number of different pipeline projects.
October 22nd, 2015 — In Articles
Non-Possessory Takings: North Carolina Supreme Court to Consider Inverse Condemnation in Future Highway Development Case
In a case that has garnered national attention, the North Carolina Supreme Court has agreed to review a court of appeals decision holding that a state statute effected a taking – and thereby implicated the property owners’ Constitutional rights. It is an interesting case — one that could have significant implications for property owners across the country.
October 12th, 2015 — In Articles
Just Compensation, Relocation Expenses and Attorneys’ Fees: Financial Compensation in Eminent Domain
Property owners who have their land condemned by the government are entitled to just compensation. This is a fundamental right established by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and contained in state constitutions as well. While these constitutional protections are often the greatest source of compensation for property owners in eminent domain cases, they are not the only sources. Depending on the circumstances, various statutes may provide additional financial recourse for individuals and businesses that have their property taken using the power of eminent domain. These statutes often: Require payment of more than “just compensation” under certain circumstances Entitle property owners to recover their attorneys’ fees for defending their rights in a condemnation suit Provide property owners with compensation for their relocation costs.
September 28th, 2015 — In Articles
Recent New York Condemnation Case Highlights Key Issues for Owners Seeking to Protect Their Property
A recent decision from New York highlights many of the key arguments that eminent domain attorneys can raise on behalf of their landowner clients in cases involving eminent domain. Although the property owners in this case were unsuccessful in their attempt to dismiss the taking, the arguments are instructive for property owners considering taking action to protect their legal rights.