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Eminent Domain

When the state of Ohio, another governmental body, or a private corporation seeks to take your property by eminent domain, you need an aggressive lawyer who knows how to protect your rights.

Eminent domain is the power of the government, or an agency authorized by the government, to take private property against the will of the property owner. Under the law, however, that power has limits. If you have received notice that the government intends to take your property, contact our Ohio eminent domain attorneys to protect your rights.

Under the “takings clause” of the United States Constitution and the Ohio Constitution, the federal government and the State of Ohio (known as Sovereign authorities) have the right and the power to take personal property for a necessary public use. This is known as the right of eminent domain. In Ohio, the exercise of this right is generally called condemnation or appropriation. The Ohio statute refers to appropriation proceedings.

There are two main issues in every eminent domain case: (1) the right of the government to take the particularly property for a specified purpose, and (2) what constitutes just compensation for the property that is taken. The specified purpose must be necessary and must be for a public use.

In Ohio, eminent domain–or condemnation–proceedings are governed by statute. The end result is the taking of real property (land, buildings, air space, etc.) without the owner’s consent. Sometimes the entire property in question is taken, and sometimes there is only a partial taking–in which case some property, known as the remainder, remains in the possession of the owner. Whether there is a whole or partial taking depends on the need of the condemning authority.

Whenever there is a taking of property by appropriation, the owner is entitled to just compensation. Just compensation is the fair market value of the property at the time it was taken.

In every appropriation proceeding, there are two issues. The first is whether the condemning authority has the right to take (appropriate) the property. The right to take the property may be challenged, and this challenge to appropriation usually involves whether the taking is truly for a public use. Sometimes the condemnation proceedings involve taking property and transferring it to a private owner for development that allegedly has a public purpose. While this is constitutionally permissible, it is a situation where the condemnation itself (the right of the government to use its eminent domain powers) is frequently contested.

The second issue is valuation of the appropriated property. Every property owner is entitled to “just compensation” when property is taken without the owner’s consent. This is the issue that generates the vast majority of eminent domain cases.

If you are involved with an eminent domain proceeding, we can help protect your rights.  Contact our Ohio eminent domain attorneys for a free consultation.

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