Just Compensation For Real Property In Eminent Domain
A critical aspect of American government is the right of citizens to be free from their private property being taken by the government without adequate cause and just compensation. Although this is a great theory and an important protection of our rights, in practice it is much more complicated. Without the help of an experienced and professional legal team advocating for you in an eminent domain proceeding, you are likely to end up receiving far less for your property than you could otherwise obtain.
The legal team at Palmieri, Hennessey & Leifer, LLP, is extremely well-versed in the process of obtaining just compensation for eminent domain takings. Serving clients in Irvine, Southern California and throughout California, we use decades of focused experience to help protect our clients and help them obtain the compensation they deserve for their properties taken in eminent domain.
Many individuals and businesses simply accept the initial offer from the government seeking to take their land. They don’t think they have any choice or ability to negotiate. However, California law dictates that citizens losing their property to government takings should receive fair market value—the highest price. The eminent domain process allows for you to make sure you get at least the fair market value for your property.
The issue usually involves determining what exactly is the fair market value for a given tract of land. There are a few important considerations involved in this:
- What fair market value is: California Code of Civil Procedure, §1263.320 defines fair market value in eminent domain: “The fair market value of the property taken is the highest price on the date of valuation that would be agreed to by a seller, being willing to sell but under no particular or urgent necessity for so doing, nor obliged to sell, and a buyer, being ready, willing, and able to buy but under no particular necessity for so doing, each dealing with the other with full knowledge of all the uses and purposes for which the property is reasonably adaptable and available.” Simply put, fair market value is the highest price the property would sell for on the open market.
- Valuation: Our attorneys work with appraisal experts to determine what a specific property would be worth on the open market. This will include the value of any structures on the property.
- Loss of goodwill: For businesses, California allows compensation for the loss of business goodwill in eminent domain. The inconvenience of customers going to a different location and other related factors play into the determination of loss of goodwill. The loss of goodwill is not simply lost profits from the taking (though that can be factored into the overall valuation). Our attorneys are experienced in navigating the complexities of bringing a claim for loss of goodwill.
Our team has handled hundreds of eminent domain cases, so we know the details of how to determine actual fair market value for our clients’ properties. We also know the procedures involved in order to make a winning case to get our clients the best compensation possible or, in some cases, to stop an eminent domain taking entirely.