Eminent domain is the power of the government to take private property.
This power can be exercised by the government without the owner’s consent. In other words, the owner loses the right in the sales transaction to say “no.” The government’s power to take private property is limited by two main factors: the taking must be for a legitimate public purpose and the taking must be necessary for that public purpose.
There are numerous governmental entities and even private corporations that have the right to exercise the power of eminent domain. The United States has the power of eminent domain, as does the State of Florida and its counties and cities. Additionally, public utilities and railroads may also use the power of eminent domain under certain circumstances.
If your property is taken, the law of eminent domain provides that you are entitled to be paid for the value of the property and improvements the government takes, in addition to any loss in value to any remaining property.
Under certain circumstances, you may also be entitled to business damages or to federal relocation benefits.
Also, if the taking is by the State of Florida, a county, a city or by a public utility or railroad, you have the right, at the expense of the government, to hire eminent domain professionals including an attorney, appraiser, land planner, engineer and accountant to evaluate the impact of the taking on your property and business. In other words, in most cases involving Florida eminent domain law, you can defend yourself against the government and they will be obligated to pay your attorney’s fees, expert witness costs and other reasonable litigation expenses.
If you elect to retain me, I will represent you in all phases of the condemnation process, from pre-suit negotiations through trial. If a jury trial becomes necessary, I will personally work with you and our team of experts to prepare and develop trial strategies that will clearly present your case to the jury.
You have many options available to you and you should seek the advice of experienced eminent domain counsel before making a decision to sell your property to the government, or before entering into, extending or modifying any lease on property that may be impacted by an eminent domain taking. Whether you seek counsel from me or another eminent domain firm, it is in your best interest to learn as much as possible about the process and it is never too soon to begin preparing for a potential eminent domain lawsuit. You can be assured that the government is planning for the acquisition of your property and you should be equally prepared.