Condemnation and Eminent Domain

Condemnation taking your property by Eminent Domain

We know how to help you, as a property owner, when you are faced with a condemnation process or inverse condemnation situation.

Eminent Domain refers to the power of the state to take private property within the state for a public purpose or public necessity use. Condemnation proceedings is the legal proceedure that the government must use.  Government must follow the condemnation process and law precisely and pay fair market value . Obviously if your property is the object of a governmental action you should have a good attorney to stand up for your rights. Normally a public purpose might be a road or easement for utility lines. But in a 2005 U S Supreme Court decision , the government has been allowed to take private property for another private property owners use, if there is some discernible public purpose. Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005)

Since 2005 many States have passed eminent domain legislation in response to the US Supreme Court decision in Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005). 

Iowa passed legislation that requires the government or condemning authority to pay a property owner's attorney's fees and costs in eminent domain cases when certain criteria are met. Iowa Code § 6B.33 states that attorney's fees and costs, including the reasonable cost of one appraisal may be recovered in Iowa as determined by the commissioners if the award given is at least 110% of the final offer made by the condemning authority. The property owner must submit an application for fees and costs prior to adjournment of the final meeting held by the commission to determine compensation. The condemning authority shall pay all reasonable costs and incurred fees, unless on the trial date, a lesser amount of damages is awarded.

If you're affected by eminent domain, you should obtain a consultation so that you know and understand your rights before taking any action. The team of you, your attorney, an appraiser, and other experts, such as a land planner or engineer will be up against the government (with its vast resources).

Remember, the government is like any buyer, they will want to purchase your property as cheaply as possible, and their appraisers may neglect to consider damages that can lead to a larger amount of just compensation. The usual procedure in a condemnation proceeding is that the condemning agency attempts to negotiate the purchase of the property for a fair value.  If the owner refuses to sell, the agency files an action before court.  After hearing  the owner of the property and the condemning agency, if the government is successful in its petition, proceedings are held to establish the fair market value of the property.  If the government is not successful, or if the property owner is not satisfied with the outcome, either side may appeal the decision.

State governments, including Iowa and Illinois,  have delegated the power of eminent domain to other political subdivisions, such as cities and counties. 

We are ready and able to assist you, having had many clients faced with the eminent domain process against their will and which we successfully obtained a good results for our client

Inverse Condemnation

We can assist you if as a property owner are  faced with the situation that the government (state, county, municipal.) does somthing that permanently affects the way you enjoy our property without going through condemnation process, without payment and without our consent.The law allows a Mandamus action to be brought against the government to force proper process, full payment or an injunction to stop the governmental action

If the property owner is not compensated for this, the legal method through which the property owner can receive compensation is called "inverse condemnation." Kingsway Cathedral v. Iowa Department of Transportation, 711 N.W.2d 6 (Iowa 2006). Iowa courts have reviewed a wide array of inverse condemnation situations, including: property that consistently floods following road construction projects, ordinances that prohibit nuisance lawsuits for odors emanating from confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), and zoning actions affecting the use of a property. If successful, the property owner is entitled to the difference in market value of the property before and after the government's action. 

Our Approach

We will work hard to earn your trust and loyalty through our commitment to you and your case, by our work ethic, our experience and resources, our deep commitment to obtain justice and our honest ethical approach.