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Challenging a proposed eminent domain taking

On Behalf of | Apr 4, 2024 | Eminent Domain

The Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause requires state and federal government entities to provide property owners in California and around the country with just compensation when they exercise their eminent domain powers. Government entities are also required to compensate the owners of property that is not taken if their real estate assets lose value because nearby land has been acquired for public use. When property owners challenge a proposed taking, they may argue that the plans for their land do not meet the definition of public use, the taking is excessive, or the compensation they are being offered is less than their property’s fair market value.

Public use

Government entities may use their eminent domain powers to acquire private property and convert it to public use, but they are not permitted to take more land than they need. A property owner can challenge a proposed taking if the plan for their land will not benefit the public or the needs of the public could be adequately served without acquiring their property. These legal challenges are rarely successful because public use is broadly defined. Government entities also tend to be careful when they initiate eminent domain proceedings.

Just compensation

Most challenges to a proposed taking claim that the compensation being offered by government entities is inadequate. The Takings Clause requires government entities to provide just compensation to the owners of property that is taken or devalued, and it may take months of negotiation and mediation to arrive at a final figure. Property owners can take their cases to court if they are unhappy with the offers they receive, but the eminent domain proceedings will not be stayed if they are unsuccessful and choose to appeal.