Condemnation and Eminent Domain Law provides a governmental body the power to take private property, either partially or in its entirety, for public purposes. Land is most commonly taken for purposes such as transportation, electrical service or sewer service. This awesome power of law is constrained by various specific requirements that must be followed before the property is taken.
Just compensation is a very subjective assessment of damages to be paid to the condemnees. Property owners are cautioned about accepting condemnors’ subjective appraisal of property values. An attorney experienced in this specialized area of law may serve property owners by ensuring proper procedures have been followed and their interests have been protected. Recovery for condemnees may include: just compensation, moving expenses, engineering fees, appraisal fees and attorney’s fees.
Archer’s Condemnation and Eminent Domain Practice Group has a long history in representing those from whom property has been taken by either the State or any of its agencies or any municipal agency, sewer authority, water authority, etc. We have appeared before commissioner hearings and juries in literally dozens of cases and work closely with real estate experts in obtaining the highest possible recoveries for our clients, some on a contingency basis.
Our clients turn to us for assistance and advice in every phase of their transactions, from negotiations to document preparation through the financial phase and settlement. Our clients include individuals, lending institutions, real estate developers and investors. We have represented these clients against entities such as the Department of Transportation, Department of Environmental Protection, counties, cities, redevelopment agencies, water management districts, various governmental agencies, and public and private utility companies with condemnation powers.
Although we primarily represent owners, we also have represented condemning authorities in the acquisition of transportation rights-of-way, school sites, parks, electric transmission line rights-of-way, and other utility rights-of-way.
Our goal is to obtain for the client the most desirable result. While in some cases the goal is to prevent the condemning authority from acquiring the property, typically, we work to obtain for the property owner the full and just compensation to which the property owner is entitled. The compensation we seek includes the value of the property acquired, as well as severance damages to any remainder property and, where applicable, business damages incurred when a business is adversely affected. When appropriate, we also seek non-monetary benefits, such as improved access, more advantageous zoning, realignment of roadways, provisions for public services, and other enhancements to the property.
Our Team Approach
In working toward such goals, we use a team approach, with members from within our law firm as well as outside consultants. The lawyers in the Condemnation and Eminent Domain Practice work closely with other departments including Real Estate, Land Use and Litigation to offer our clients the depth and experience to cover all aspects of the matter and/or client’s needs.
The practice is led by experienced lawyers who draw upon many years of trial and real estate experience gathered from representing clients involved in condemnation and eminent domain proceedings. Within our firm, we also employ skilled paralegals to assist in the preparation and presentation of our cases.
With the approval of the client, we also retain outside consultants and experts, who, depending upon the issues involved, typically include appraisers, engineers, land planners, accountants, economists, surveyors, photographers, and other professionals who bring their particular expertise to a case. Our attorney remains the team leader and prepares the team toward the goal of the most effective preparation and presentation of the client’s case for final resolution, whether by settlement or by trial.