Knowing Your Rights on Eminent Domain

eminent domain

The concept of eminent domain can be confusing for almost anyone in the United States. In the first line of our Constitution we speak of how liberty is synonymous to owning property.

Therefore it makes no sense why we go write an expectation to our values without our fifth amendments. However, eminent domain originally existed to provide public opportunities that would benefit our citizens. 

Unfortunately today it has morphed into something that we no longer recognize. 

In order for eminent domain to be legally executed, you must offer just compensation to the private property owner.  Typically this means that this price must be at or above the market valuation for the house. 

The negotiation upper hand actually belongs to the private property owner in this case and they can usually achieve up between 100% to 150% rise in valuation for their property in some cases. 

The second condition that makes eminent domain legal is that it must be executed with the intent to use the seized property for public use. 

Unfortunately this is where the legislative waters get murky.

Throughout history, there has been documented proof of the government seizing private property and selling it to private developers.

Notable Cases of Eminent Domain

One of the most notable of these cases around in Toledo, Ohio in 1999.  The government seized over 83 family homes and 16 well established businesses after agreeing with Chrysler that they would build a manufacturing plant on this land. 

This does not fall under the category of public use but was allowed to be used under the guise of eminent domain because Chrysler promised to provide 5,000 jobs to the displaced families.

With no governmental follow up, Chrysler only delivered 2,100 jobs.  This meant that over half of the families and businesses that were displaced could have kept their homes and lifestyles.

This is not the only documented case on government and private developers’ collaboration through eminent domain.

In fact, almost 20 years later in 2019 eminent domain was once again used to displace families for private gain.

The Iowa Supreme Court ruled that they could use eminent domain to acquire land for the Dakota Access Pipeline. 

They argued that even though they had previously established precedent against eminent domain usage for private property that this was an extreme circumstance. 

They said that the Pipeline could provide the community a much bigger benefit than if they were to use the acquired land for direct public use projects. 

The Dakota Access Pipeline is not only just a controversial social and environmental issue, but it is an example of the universal power that we continue to give and let states evolve.

Many people feel helpless in fighting these cases because the government is always willing to settle for a lot of money in these cases. 

This is typically money that can mean a lot to the families who are displaced and they fear that if they were to challenge this in court that they might lose the battle.

In Conclusion

It is extremely important to reach out to law firms and lawyers when faced with an eminent domain case. 

Not only are they going to be willing to answer any questions you might have but they also will help make sure that you don’t get taken advantage of in the legal process.

Having someone on your side through these proceedings will not only help you win your trial but it can help give you the peace of mind that you are not in the wrong.

Most of the time in eminent domain cases, you have the power: don’t let someone take that away. 

Eminent Domain
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