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Eminent Domain

Eminent domain is a legal principle that grants the government and private entity the authority to seize private property for public use, provided fair compensation is offered to the landowner. This power is rooted in the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits the government and certain companies from taking private property without just compensation. 

Eminent domain is typically invoked for infrastructure projects such as roads, schools, or public utilities that benefit the community. The process involves a valuation of the property, negotiations between the condemnor and the property owner, and, if necessary, a legal proceeding to determine the right to take and or compensation amount. 

Our experienced legal team at Hill & Hill specializes in navigating the complexities of eminent domain cases, advocating for the rights of property owners, and ensuring they receive fair and just compensation for their valuable assets.

Our takeaways on eminent domain

Hill & Hill recognizes the sensitivity and intricacies surrounding eminent domain cases. We work tirelessly to protect the rights of property owners, ensuring they receive not only equitable compensation but also fair treatment throughout the entire process. Our attorneys are well-versed in the nuances of eminent domain law, leveraging their expertise to guide clients through negotiations with government entities and, when necessary, vigorously representing them in court. We understand the emotional and financial impact that property seizure can have on individuals and businesses, and we strive to provide compassionate and effective legal representation to help our clients face these challenging situations.

At Hill & Hill, we pride ourselves on our commitment to personalized and client-focused service. Whether you are facing a potential eminent domain action or seeking advice on how to proactively protect your property rights, our legal experts are here to offer strategic counsel and representation. We stay abreast of the latest developments in eminent domain law, ensuring that our clients benefit from up-to-date legal strategies tailored to their specific circumstances. With a track record of successful outcomes in eminent domain cases, Hill & Hill stands ready to advocate for your rights and safeguard your interests in the face of government expropriation.

Eminent Domain in our country can be traced all the way back to England and the Magna Carta.  A rebellious group of Feudal Barons forced upon the unpopular King John of England a document to limit the King’s powers by law and protect the Baron’s rights. The Magna Carta was first chartered in 1215 and was reissued with alternations in 1216, 1217 and 1225. It eventually served as the foundation for the English system of common law. The Magna Carta was a safeguard against arbitrary government. Article 39 of the Magna Carta reads, “no free man shall be … disseised [deprived] of his freehold … except by the lawful judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land.” But no compensation was awarded to owners whose property was taken by the King (government) for public use. As English Law and the political system matured and a parliament developed, the government obtained ownership of private property through existing legal channels, including parliamentary legislation.

In 1791, Jefferson pushed for the adoption of the Bill of Rights, supported by Madison, for the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Interestingly, once again the Magna Carta played an important role in that it had the origins of many of the rights and liberties contained in our Bill of Rights. It was in this context that the Eminent Domain Clause of the Fifth Amendment was drafted. It states, “No person shall be …deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.”