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Common types of eminent domain cases

On Behalf of | May 29, 2022 | Eminent Domain

Eminent domain is the government’s right to seize the property of a private-owning individual or organization with just compensation. The powers of each state government are protected under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. There are three common types of eminent domain that are practiced in California.


Most cases of eminent domain involve the physical taking of personal property for public use. A government, corporation or nonprofit organization seizes a portion of land, home or building from a private owner. They are given this privilege if they agree to compensate the owner financially and use the property for the public good, such as building roads, bridges or stores.


Regulatory taking is when the government sets rules on property ownership that severely restricts the owner’s rights and usage. The property becomes so unusable that many owners eventually give up their rights in exchange for payments.

Pro tanto

Pro tanto means the partial extent of a debt or claim. In regards to eminent domain, pro tanto occurs when the government seizes property and pays a partial payment to the owner without paying the full amount owed. This process often involves the provision of compensation that seems unfair to the owner’s rights.

The three most common types of eminent domain are the physical, regulatory or pro tanto taking of property. The main purpose is to seize private property from an owner and use it for public services. This right is protected under the Constitution if it meets certain conditions. Even so, there are many eminent domain cases, involving local governments, municipalities or corporations, that frequently appear in court.