How Can Eminent Domain Be Used?

            Typically, the government or a public utility will attempt to use eminent domain in order to complete a project. The authority that seeks to use eminent domain activates its right to eminent domain through a few different avenues. One avenue is by trying to negotiate the purchase of property from the landowner without having to go through the courts. Another is through the process called “condemnation” which requires the use of the courts in order to obtain property.

            The initial process will almost always include the government or private condemnor making an offer to the landowner which can either be accepted or modified based on how the negotiations proceed. Before taking the offer, the landowner should seek to get their own appraisal. By getting their own appraisal, the landowner can ensure that the authority seeking to take their property is offering a fair price.

            However, the government’s initial offer will normally be below what fair market values might be. Therefore, the landowner will likely need to decline the first offer. The government will then either increase the offer and settle or file a condemnation lawsuit in the district court where the property is located. The process of condemnation does not begin until a lawsuit is filed in the court.

            In North Carolina and many other states, the court will hold an initial hearing where the landowner, hopefully through their attorney, will present evidence of true fair market value. In North Carolina, this initial hearing is conducted by Commissioners who are appointed by the Clerk of Court. The Commissioners will hear the case and create a report granting an award to the landowner based on their findings. However, if the landowner or condemning authority does not want to accept the Commissioners’ ruling, then they can request a jury trial.

            There is another form of taking that allows the government to take immediate possession of the property being condemned. This process is called a “quick take.” Quick takes exist in many other states beside North Carolina. However, in North Carolina, quick takes can only be for specified purposes.

Our firm focuses on three practice areas: Disability, Personal Injury, and Eminent Domain. Every practice area has attorneys who have expertise in their respective area of practice. 

Chad Brown is a North Carolina Board Certified Social Security disability law specialist. Mr. Brown helps Social Security disability claimants at all stages of the disability process. He also works with people that have Long Term Disability denials and with people that are injured by drugs and defective medical products.

Your Questions Answered

What Is the Public Good for Purposes of Eminent Domain?

The question above asks a question that seems to coincide with one of the two main restrictions that the constitution places on the government before it can take private property. However, what is being referred to here as “public good” is actually referred to as...

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Can Eminent Domain Be Used for Economic Development?

This question was brought to many Americans’ attention in 2005 after the decision for Kelo v. New London was handed down by the United States Supreme Court. In that case, the Court stated that government could condemn property and convey it to private entities for...

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Can Eminent Domain Be Challenged?

The state and federal government do have the inherent right to exercise eminent domain. This inherent right is not expressly given in either the United States Constitution or the North Carolina Constitution. However, those documents do act to restrict the government’s...

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