Shock, anger and fear are the most common emotions that homeowners experience after being served with notice that their home, business or land is being condemned.
Nothing is more shocking that learning that something you have worked to build your whole life is now under threat.
While you may be shocked, you are not helpless and you do not need to leave yourself defenseless. The eminent domain litigation attorneys at Lewis & Keller can answer all of your eminent domain questions and help you figure out the next steps.
Take a deep breath, pick up the phone, call us and tell us who is trying to take your land and your home.
What is Eminent Domain?
Eminent domain powers permit these companies and government agencies to take private property and repurpose it for public use provided that they justly compensate the original owners.
North Carolina utility companies such as Progress Energy and Duke Power, along with local and state government agencies, have been known to exercise their eminent domain powers vested in them by the United States Constitution and the North Carolina Constitution.
Eminent domain litigation is used to resolve disputes between land owners, homeowners and business owners whose properties are in danger of being taken by various public and private agencies and companies.
The biggest disputes in eminent domain cases arises because the condemnors (government or private company) undervalue the property and land that they are condemning and taking.
Eminent Domain Litigation Process
The first thing to understand is that the eminent domain litigation process in North Carolina is a convoluted and involved process. There are many confusing rules and only a skilled eminent domain lawyer with decades of experience can help you navigate the eminent domain litigation process successfully.
With that said, there are some things that are common to all eminent domain litigation cases that occur in North Carolina.
In this state, there are several broad steps involved in an eminent domain litigation case.
Before A Condemnation is Announced
Homeowners should zealously pay attention to the announcement of public projects near their land. The truth is that most projects are explored and announced years before the private property is condemned.
There are tried-and-true strategies that an experienced eminent domain litigation attorney can use to ensure that when your property is condemned you can get just compensation. By acting proactively, you and your eminent domain attorney can come up with a plan of attack to maximize your compensation.
Negotiating the Appraisal Value
The land condemnors will always evaluate your property in a manner that best represents their interests. They will argue that the compensation that they offer you is the fair and just value of your property.
With a team of experienced and resourceful eminent domain attorneys on your side however, you will be able to challenge the government’s original appraisal by conducting independent and objective assessments regarding the true value of your property.
Responding to a Government Suit
If you and the government cannot reach an agreement on what constitutes fair and just compensation during the negotiation phase then you may be sued by the government.
When this happens, the homeowner will have a limited amount of time to respond to the lawsuit. A successful eminent domain litigation defense will involve extensive decisions about filing proper motions, meeting court deadlines, hiring land and property experts and overall case strategy.
It is vital that you discuss your case immediately with an eminent domain attorney after you are sued so that you do not miss any important court deadlines and so that you can protect your property interests.
How Can an Eminent Domain Attorney Help?
Eminent domain litigation is a complex legal process that involves many stakeholders. Experienced eminent domain litigation attorneys at Lewis & Keller help beleaguered homeowners use expert witnesses to build their case.
In the past, our firm has used a full arsenal of specialists and land experts to ensure that our clients get the fair value of their home and their land.
Our firm routinely consults with a variety of experts, including:
- Land surveyors
- Civil and electrical engineers
- Real estate professionals
We consult with the listed professionals, among many others, in order to gather comprehensive information about your rights and about the value of your property.
In order to really challenge the government’s appraisals, it is important to complete an independent assessment.
We leverage our extensive network of land condemnation experts on your behalf.
Lewis & Keller: Your Eminent Domain Litigation Law Firm
Mike Lewis, the senior partner and owner of Lewis & Keller, has been practicing in the area of eminent domain for more than 40 years.
For decades, Mr. Lewis fought on behalf of home and landowners whose property was threatened by city, county and state agencies and governments. Mr. Lewis has been recognized for his success in this field by Best Lawyers in America* for Eminent Domain every year since 2007.
You have worked very hard for your home and your property. Let eminent domain attorney Mike Lewis protect your property rights and your financial interests.
*Information on the standards for Best Lawyers can be found at www.bestlawyers.com.