Eminent domain is a governmental power that has often been abused by authorities in California and around the country when they have a vision for a specific property. Eminent domain can be implemented when absolutely necessary to complete a pressing project as long as the owners are properly compensated for their property. However, some land seizures are not conducted according to law, as many governments think there will no repercussions when making the eminent domain designation. And in the Los Angeles area, a return of confiscated land is about to happen.
Revisionist review case in Los Angeles
Over a century ago the city of Los Angeles used eminent domain to take the property of an African-American family that had established a beachfront hotel for their shared ancestry. Implemented at a time when segregation laws were being enforced, a recent review of the case has resulted in a return of the property to the original owner’s current living family. While this is an unusual move, it serves as an example of governmental overreach when eminent domain is invoked.
Contesting an eminent domain claim
There are generally two factors to be considered when eminent domain claims are used to force a purchase by the government of a specific property. The government can be required to prove the property is eligible for eminent domain seizure, as not all projects or claims of the government are indeed necessary. Even the necessity claims can be contested by an eminent domain attorney who understands how to defend government claims. In addition, what is considered “just” compensation can be questioned as well. Just because some property owners consent to selling their property for the offered amount does not mean the amount is necessarily consistent with property valuation.
Never accept the concept that you have no legal recourse when the government comes calling to purchase your property. There are unique situations that can result in a denial of the authority to seize even when proper payment is being rendered.