What is Eminent Domain and How Does It Work?

          Eminent domain is the government’s ability to take private property and convert it to public use. Eminent domain is an inherent right that exists because it is necessary for a government to perform its duties. The government is also considered to be the sovereign over the land which it governs. In other words, the United States government is sovereign over the United States and all the land that the United States occupies. This includes the land you own and live on.

            Property rights that belong to private citizens, contrary to popular belief, are not inherent. Property rights are instead created by the government. In the United States, property rights were also created by the government. However, the ability to exercise eminent domain still rests quite comfortably with the government. In North Carolina, the government has also delegated some of its eminent domain power to certain private entities through statute.

            Since the right to exercise eminent domain is deemed inherent in both the state and federal government. They also have the right to defer that right to other entities. The North Carolina General Assembly has given the right of eminent domain to certain types of entities. Chapter 40A of the North Carolina General Statutes lists the type of entities that may exercise eminent domain. Subsequently, the process for private entities seeking eminent domain will be different from government entities.

            The process of eminent domain describes how it works. The first thing that the government will do is make an offer to the property owner to buy them outright without having to get the court system involved. If an agreement cannot be reached, then the government will file a condemnation lawsuit against the property owner to force them to transfer title to the property.

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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