Eminent Domain is the right of the government to seize privately owned property to achieve a public benefit. The law requires that the government provide just compensation for the acquisition of the property, but critics of the policy argue that the calculations of what constitutes “just compensation” are arbitrary and fail to compensate for the costs of relocation. Such critics have pointed to the California government as one of the worst offenders.
The most common uses of eminent domain are for building public freeways and municipal parks. The government justifies the property acquisitions as a necessary means by which to provide a significant benefit to the public at large. In some cases, state or local governments will seize parcels of land in order to allow private companies to construct facilities that will ultimately provide a substantial number of new jobs for the community. Another use of Eminent Domain is to condemn and raze unsafe, deteriorating properties. In each of these scenarios, there exists a balancing test weighing the intrusion and inconvenience suffered by the property owner versus the proposed total public benefit.
The Supreme Court has made numerous rulings defining the parameters of Eminent Domain. One such ruling set in place the ability for property owners to demonstrate the right to an award in excess of the minimum prescribed by the Constitution. At Webb Law Group, we specialize in negotiating for higher awards by developing creative strategies for demonstrating the full extent of the detriment posed to our client.