Eminent domain refers to the power possessed by the state over all property within the state, specifically its power to appropriate property for a public use. In most countries, including the United States under the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, the owner of appropriated land is entitled to reasonable compensation, usually defined as the fair market value of the property. Proceedings to take land under eminent domain are typically referred to as “condemnation” proceedings.

Regardless of whether or not the owner wants to sell, governmental power to take property through condemnation proceedings is an established practice in our society. There are processes and procedures that the government agency must follow by law. Litigation may occur over whether the government agency’s actions have been in accordance with the law as well as over the appropriate monetary compensation to be paid to the owner of the property.

Semmes’ attorneys have a broad range of experience in condemnation law and litigation. We represent both taking authorities and property owners in eminent domain cases and have litigated such issues as business valuation, contamination issues and the right to take. We work with appraisers, environmental experts, land planners and other professionals to achieve appropriate compensation for land taken by eminent domain. In inverse condemnation actions, we work to gain compensation for individuals and businesses whose property value is negatively affected by the unintended consequences of a project.

Our diverse experience and litigation expertise offer our clients excellent eminent domain legal representation.