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A Guide to Eminent Domain

Eminent domain is the power through which the government can take private property to use for public projects. In return for the property, the government must pay “just compensation” to the property owner.  Under Missouri law, “just compensation” is measured in terms of the fair market value of the property condemned by the government.  Condemnation is the legal process through which a government uses its power of eminent domain to take private property through the court system.

Eminent domain laws can and have been misused in a variety of instances in different parts of the country.  Abuse of the power of eminent domain draws media attention and, as a result, there is immense resistance to eminent domain abuse from the public.  While reforms have been brought about by many states in an effort to limit eminent domain abuse, eminent domain laws continue to be viewed as abusive in many instances.

If you are facing the threat of condemnation of your property under the power of eminent domain, it is important to understand your rights when it comes to eminent domain laws. A competent eminent domain attorney from The Wallach Law Firm can fight to protect your rights in any property case.

Eminent Domain Law: From Seizure of Property for ‘Public Use’ to ‘Economic Development’

Under the constitution, the government can only make use of the awesome power of eminent domain to seize property belonging to citizens when the property will be used for a public project. Therefore, the building of roads, schools, railways, or public buildings may be lawful and reasonable causes for taking private property through condemnation. Starting in the 1950s, eminent domain began to be used to clear slums and dilapidated areas in major cities.  In those cases, the property was later transferred to private parties for the purposes of “economic development”.  This expanded the concept and application of eminent domain laws, so that now communities around the nature have sought to use eminent domain to take private property in order to facilitate retail or industrial developments that ultimately benefit private corporations.  These private-to-private takings through eminent domain under the allegedly public purpose of economic development remain highly controversial.

What You Need to Know About Eminent Domain Laws

The vast majority of condemnation cases involve the taking of private property for traditional public uses, such as roads, sewers, parks and electric grids.  However, in most states today condemnations for economic development are permitted under eminent domain laws, and such clearances and seizures cannot be contested easily by the property owners. However, even in such eminent domain cases, property owners do have certain rights.

Many times, property owners do not defend their rights in these cases simply because they are unaware of the protections afforded them by the Constitution and state and local laws. This is where a reputed and experienced eminent domain attorney from The Wallach Law Firm can be your best ally. We have decades of experience dealing with these cases and know every aspect of eminent domain laws and condemnation procedures.  Our attorneys will educate you about your rights and help you protect them to the fullest extent possible.

How You Can Protect Your Rights in Eminent Domain and Condemnation Cases

When it comes to property takings through condemnation, there are several ways in which an eminent domain attorney may be able to help. For example:

  • The property may be falsely earmarked as critical for the public use project. This may be done inadvertently or deliberately. In recent times, some eminent domain seizures have been carried out under the pretext that the taken properties are critical to the project. However, careful reviews have shown that the project will not be unduly affected even if these properties were allowed to remain untouched. An eminent domain attorney can help the property owner determine if his property is truly central to the proposed project and assist in negotiations to try to exclude the property from being taken for the project.
  • Often, the government will attempt to use eminent domain to pay a property owner inadequate compensation for the property acquired. Our attorneys have vast experience in making the case that a property owner has been offered inadequate compensation for his property, and in fighting to achieve the highest amount of compensation due under the facts and the law.  Our attorneys can make a detailed presentation at any stage in the condemnation process, from initial negotiations all the way up to a jury trial, in an effort to achieve the best outcome.
  •  In many instances only a portion of a property may be acquired, while the rest of the property may be damaged by the construction process or by the completed project. In such case, the eminent domain laws require that the government pay compensation not only for the property it takes, but for the harm it causes to the remaining property.  Our attorneys help property owners make a fair estimate of the damages caused to the remaining property in order to make a case for full compensation as required under the Constitution and eminent domain laws.
Eminent Domain Laws | Missouri Attorneys

Call The Wallach Law Firm for Competent Eminent Domain Law Advice

There are many ways to protect your rights when your property is seized under the power of eminent domain through the condemnation process.  However, this is possible only when you are aware of your rights and have a competent, experienced eminent domain lawyersassisting you. Call The Wallach Law Firm today at 314-997-4050 to learn more about how you can protect your rights when faced with eminent domain or condemnation.

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