March 19th, 2020 — In

Attorney Fee Issues In An Eminent Domain Case

This Article is written by Owner’s Counsel of America for general informational purposes only. It is intended to assist landowners in understanding some of the basic issues that relate to the issue of attorney fees in an eminent domain proceeding. This Article is not to be viewed as providing legal advice or to be considered as a substitute for the consulting with an experienced eminent domain lawyer on the matters covered herein. Does the Condemning Authority Have to Pay My Attorney Fees?  It depends. Every state is different in terms of how it addresses the issue of whether (and under what circumstances) a landowner may be entitled to recover attorney fees when faced with an eminent domain taking. Note that the operative word here is “recover,” since even in jurisdictions that offer some form of attorney fee relief in condemnation cases, a landowner’s attorney fees are typically not paid by the condemning authority as they are incurred, but rather at the very end of the proceeding. Below are three examples of how the issue of a landowner’s attorney fees in an eminent domain case may vary from state to state:  Constitutional Rule. Some states allow a landowner to recover reasonable attorney fees based on language in that state’s constitution requiring the payment of ‘just compensation’ when property is taken, on the theory that in order to make the landowner whole the compensation must include out of pocket expenses like attorney fees.  Statutory Rule. Other states have enacted specific statutes that allow landowners […]

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