Eminent domain is the right of a government to take private property for public use. However, before a government can do so, they must initiate condemnation proceedings.
Similarly, a property owner may initiate inverse condemnation proceedings. Here is an overview of what you need to know:
What Is Condemnation?
Condemnation refers to those proceedings that are initiated by the state with the intent of putting private property to public use.
The government takes the property – which it is legally allowed to do when offering just compensation to the property owner per the laws of eminent domain – through condemnation proceedings.
The primary purpose of these proceedings is to ensure that the property owner is adequately compensated.
What Is Inverse Condemnation?
Contrary to condemnation, in which the government brings forth the action in order to seize private property, inverse condemnation refers to the process by which a private property owner brings an action against the government.
In an inverse condemnation action, the private property owner alleges that the government has taken interest in the private property without giving compensation (i.e. the government pollutes water that runs onto private land), or that the government has damaged real property to the extent that it is equivalent to condemnation, and that the property owner should be compensated as such.
Due Process and Condemnation
The laws regarding eminent domain and inverse condemnation can be extremely complex, and both federal and state laws often apply. While the state certainly has the power to take property, the Fifth Amendment prevents them from doing so for public purposes without just compensation. Further, a property owner cannot be deprived of their property without due process.
While jury trial is not required, due process does require that the property owner is notified in a timely manner, allows for the presentation of the property owner’s side of the issue, allows for the presentation of witnesses, and grants the property owner the right to appeal a decision.
Due process and just compensation are two of the most complicated issues during condemnation and inverse condemnation proceedings. In regards to the latter, proving that land or property has been damaged to the point that condemnation has occurred can be extremely challenging for a property owner to do.
When You Are Fighting Against the Government
For the average citizen who owns property that is being seized through eminent domain, the condemnation or inverse condemnation process can be overwhelming. And truth be told, when the little guy goes up against big government, the latter has more resources and more power.
If you have been notified by the government that your property is being seized for public use under the laws of eminent domain, or if you believe that you deserve just compensation for the government’s use or destruction of your property, you need an experienced Ada, Oklahoma condemnation and inverse condemnation attorney who can help you to fight back.
At the Erik Johnson Law Office, we know what it takes to protect your rights. Contact us today at 580-279-975 now.