The government or the DOT is developing land near my property, but they haven’t filed an Eminent Domain lawsuit against me or my property yet. Do I still need an attorney?
The Government does not necessarily have to file a lawsuit against a person in order to “take” their land for a public use or benefit. In some cases, the “taking” is a secondary result of some unrelated action by the Government. A common example of this occurs when a city or county's zoning ordinances are amended to allow or restrict new uses of land.
Think about what would happen if the local Government changed its zoning laws to allow a brewery to open next-door to your home. The noise, smell, and increased traffic would likely make it difficult for you to enjoy your property. Moreover, the close proximity of the brewery could make it difficult for you to sell your property at full value in the future. In this situation, the Government’s actions may have impaired the practical use or reasonable value of your property. Accordingly, you may be entitled to compensation for your land, even though it wasn’t expressly taken through Eminent Domain.
To recover for the lost use and value in the property as described above, the landowner would have to file a lawsuit against the Government. This kind of lawsuit is called an Inverse Condemnation claim. In an inverse condemnation claim, the landowner alleges that the government's actions amounted to a constructive taking of his property. To recover, the landowner must prove to the court that he lost all reasonable value or use of his property without just compensation.
Our Country was founded on the belief that few things are as fundamental as a person’s right to privately use and enjoy property. If you think that you might have a claim for inverse condemnation, it's important to consult a qualified attorney right away. In most cases, you risk losing your Constitutional right to compensation by not filing suit within two years of the Government action.
To schedule a consultation and review of your case, contact one of the qualified Inverse Condemnation attorneys at Speaks Law Firm today!