Challenging the government’s right to take property can be a daunting task, and we would recommend that you consult an eminent domain attorney like the qualified attorneys at Chad Brown Law, P.L.L.C. However, the following will serve to hopefully encourage those private individuals who are threatened with having their property taken from them.
It is important to remember that there are two prongs to virtually all eminent domain takings in the United States. The exercise of eminent domain must first be for a “public purpose.” Any taking that is not for a “public purpose” or for “public necessity” does not qualify as a proper taking and would therefore be unconstitutional. It is important that you consult an attorney on this matter because the courts in recent years, including the United States Supreme Court, have expanded the definition of “public purpose” over the recent years to include exercises of eminent domain for private use with only an incidental and probable public benefit.
The second requirement is that “just compensation” be given for the property that has been taken. (some states refer to “just compensation” as “fair compensation”) The encouraging part of eminent domain for the landowner is that you can still be entitled to just compensation even if you lose your challenge against the government’s procurement of your property. Part of the process that landowners, with the help of their counsel, should follow is procure your own appraisal of your property. Both the Federal Government and North Carolina allow landowners to get their own appraisal. This will be valuable evidence in court as to the actual value of the property.
If either the “public purpose” requirement or the “just compensation” requirement are missing from the government’s exercise of eminent domain over your property, a successful challenge may be pursued. The reality is that most challenges surround the “just compensation” requirement since most projects have an obvious public purpose. In any event, do not delay to contact a qualified eminent domain attorney to make sure your interests are protected.