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

Can Eminent Domain Take Your House?

The question assumes that eminent domain is a person or entity that can do something. Eminent domain is a tool, not an entity or person. It is analogous to a specific type of wrench that allows a mechanic to perform a specific task. The idea that the government may...

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Can Eminent Domain Be Used for Private Use?

Although to some it might seem inherently wrong for the government to take a private citizen’s property and give it to a private entity, that can indeed happen. The United States Supreme Court in Kelo v. New London, a landmark Supreme Court case in 2005, established...

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Can Eminent Domain be Stopped?

When challenging an action for eminent domain, the property owner generally has two avenues. The two avenues that can be used to stop or challenge a taking are found in the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution. First, the property owner can challenge the...

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