Are you a landowner in Indiana that has recently been notified by the government, or a quasi-government authorized organization that your private land will be taken for “public use”? If that is the case, you need to contact an Indiana eminent domain attorney or eminent domain law firm to represent your interest. Here is why.
What is Eminent Domain?
The process of eminent domain is the way in which the government can legally take private property for public use. This taking must be exchanged for “just compensation.” This action by the government or quasi-government entities is authorized through the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The Takings Clause states that no “private property [shall] be taken for public use, without just compensation.
If you had a property that has been recently declared to be taken for public use, the government’s offer does not have to be your final offer. Call an Indiana eminent domain attorney to work with you in this time of need. Time is literally of the essence and your very rights are being negotiated. Now is the time to fight for your rights as a land or property owner. At the Eminent Domain Attorneys of America, we represent landowners rights in eminent domain disputes.
Indiana Eminent Domain Process
In the state of Indiana, the eminent domain process can only be stopped if the proposed taking does not meet the requirements for a public purpose or public necessity. If you have determined that the proposed taking does meet these requirements, then you should learn more about the Indiana eminent domain process.
Remember, even if the government has the right to condemn your property, it is not within the government’s rights to dictate the price they pay for your land. Your amount of compensation is determined by the highest and best use laws for your property. Our skilled attorneys in Indiana eminent domain law, have the experience in calculating the amount of compensation you are actually due.
Indiana Eminent Domain and Property Rights
The eminent domain abuse dialogue often centers on policy issues involving the right to take property for economic development and blight. Since the landmark case of Kelo v. City of New London in 2005, many states have taken measures to help curb eminent domain abuse. Some states were very successful at passing meaningful reform, and other states failed to pass any legislation at all. Most states fall in the middle by passing legislation that looks good on paper but does little to level the playing field between property owners and the government.
Since the decision by the United States Supreme Court in Kelo v. City of New London many states across the country have taken measures to help protect the rights of private ownership. The Kelo decision, while controversial in nature, held the premise that a local government can legally take the private property of one person and give it to another private entity. While the Court’s ruling was seen by many as a serious blow to citizen’s constitutionally protected rights of private property, the decision prompted a number of states to initiate legislative reform to help curb eminent domain abuse.
Important Indiana Eminent Domain Cases
As Indiana eminent domain attorneys we represent a wide array of eminent domain cases. Though these cases below are not individual cases that we were able to help clients successfully resolve, these are prominent eminent domain cases that are representative of what we do for our clients. Take a few moments and read about them below.
McNair v. Indiana Department of Transportation – LaPorte County, IN
In 2010, the Indiana Department of Transportation used eminent domain rights to acquire the frontage of her property for land used to widen a stretch of U.S 421. Initially, INDOT had only offered to give her on $60,500 for her property. Ultimately, a LaPorte Circuit Court jury awarded Janet McNair roughly four times the INDOT initial offer for a total of $254,388.
Ms. McNair argued that her particular stretch of land was valuable because it was commercially zoned, and it was located in an area with existing retail development and had great potential for additional growth. Also, roughly 15,000 vehicles a day travel that stretch of highway that was designated as a future high growth area. Clearly, the property was worth substantially more than the initial offer from the government.
A Howard County Jury Awards More Than $300k
Another Indiana eminent domain case that is memorable was a ruling against the city of Kokomo that left the city with a bill for more than $300,000 in a controversial eminent domain case.
A Howard County jury awarded $305,600 to the owners of Kokomo Glass. The city used eminent domain to acquire the property as a means to further the hazard mitigation in the area and to further the economic development of the City of Kokomo. Even though the area that was affected was not specifically part of the eminent domain deal, Kokomo Glass was able to sue for damages. While the city initially offered $150,000 a jury awarded the plaintiff over $300k. So even if you have a property that is not directly affected by eminent domain, it does not mean that an eminent domain attorney in Indiana won’t be able to help. When in doubt. Call an eminent domain lawyer.
Hiring an Eminent Domain Attorney in Indiana
As you are likely aware, taking matters into your own hands when it comes to eminent domain is highly discouraged. You could ruin a good claim by attempting to negotiate with the condemning authority without knowing the full extent of your damages. Or, you could settle for much less than what you are entitled to receive. Don’t be surprised if you’re unable to assess the damages in your case; no one expects you to be an expert on land valuation in eminent domain cases. In fact, the government is counting on this.
Most Indiana eminent domain attorneys work on a contingent fee basis. With this type of fee structure, a lawyer or law firm assumes the financial risks associated with a case for a fee. In these types of fee arrangements, landowners are generally only responsible for paying costs associated with the case. The landowner is primarily responsible for paying the cost for the appraiser who values the property. Because of the contingent fee structure, most eminent domain attorneys will conduct a free consultation for property owners prior to recommending the property owner pursue some form of eminent domain legal representation.
Generally speaking, you are entitled to recover reasonable attorney fees and costs in eminent domain cases if the condemning authority abandons the proceeding, or if the court rules that the property cannot be acquired through eminent domain law.
If You Need an Indiana Eminent Domain Attorney
If you have been affected by eminent domain, it makes sense to contact our office for a free consultation so that you know and understand your rights as a landowner in the United States, Indiana in particular, before taking any specific action. Remember, the government is like any real estate buyer. The goal of the government is to purchase your land as cheaply as possible, and often we’ve discovered that the government appraisers may quite often neglect to consider damages that can lead to a larger amount of just compensation.
Very few legal professionals can claim specific expertise in the area of Indiana eminent domain law. Make sure you consult with an Indiana eminent domain trial attorney who can effectively identify damages and select the necessary experts so that you are able to realize the most optimal outcome for your individual property. You need to make sure that your eminent domain attorney has the experience to allow them to properly interface with the condemning government authority and be willing to take your case to trial if negotiations are not able to be reached. Email our office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 800-555-1212 today!
Q: Who has the right to exercise eminent domain?
A: According to the law of the land, the US Constitution, all governmental entities; and a large number quasi-governmental entities, such as school districts, levee districts, airports; certain utilities; and private entities pursuant to specific legislative provisions all have the right to exercise eminent domain over private property.
Q: What Are the Legal Requirements for Exercising the Eminent Domain Against a Private Landowner?
A: The law clearly states that any exercise of the power of eminent domain must be for public use. Furthermore, just compensation must be paid for the property being taken. Also, according to the law, a property owner shall receive reasonable notice of the taking, the right to be presented an assessment (appraisal) of the estimated compensation to be paid and a written good faith offer before any taking, and a trial by jury on the amount of just compensation to be awarded.
Q: Is there a Defense Against Eminent Domain?
A: A property owner can contest the entity’s right to take based either on the theory that the use is not a public use or that the entity does not have the requisite legal authority to condemn
Q: What is a Public Purpose?
A: Some examples of public purpose include the following:
- Electric utility lines
- Sewer projects
- Levee projects
The list for examples of public purpose is endless. There are two main requirements for eminent domain which are the following:
- It is used for a public purpose
- The condemnor has statutory authorization to condemn a property for public use, eminent domain.