The government has notified me that they intend to take through eminent domain and condemnation my business or commercial property for a highway and utility project. What should I do?

When the government targets your property for eminent domain they can force you to relocate your business. With few exceptions your only compensation will be for the value of the property regardless of relocation costs and lost profits. The property and location of your business is often central to your business’ success. For these reasons having your business property targeted for condemnation can put your livelihood in jeopardy. Commercial real estate is especially vulnerable to eminent domain because it is frequently in the path of highway widening and utility projects.

A 2005 Supreme Court decision, Kelo v. City of New London authorized the government to exercise eminent domain for solely economic purposes, such as raising tax revenues. The government can exercise the power of eminent domain on behalf of private developers under the guise of “the public good.”

“Just Compensation” is generally limited to the value of the property itself. Typically business owners are not compensated for the costs of relocation, lost profits and other related expenses.  It is possible to recover damages if the condemnation has rendered the remaining land unfit for its adapted use. As with every other form of condemnation the government will attempt to pay you the lowest amount possible for your property.

Location is central to your success of your business and can be critical to your livelihood. Because of the limitations on the definition of “just compensation”, enforcing your rights with an experienced attorney is absolutely critical. We can work to maximize the value of your business’ property. Where your remaining property has been devalued or made redundant we will fight for the money needed to recoup your losses.  Call (910) 341-7570 for more information.


R. Clarke Speaks
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Trial Lawyer and Founder of Speaks Law Firm, P.C.