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Challenging a government taking through eminent domain

Property owners in California who have received a notice about an eminent domain action have the right to challenge the government's decision to take their land. Before a notice about eminent domain is presented to a property owner, the government is obligated to offer the property owner a fair price and participate in negotiations over the compensation.

During negotiations, a property owner may contest the amount of compensation that the government is offering them for their land as well as the actual taking of their land by the government. If these appeals fail, the property owner might decide to go to court to challenge the government's eminent domain action on the basis of due process or some other constitutional ground.

If the eminent domain case is heard, both sides will have an opportunity to present evidence and testimony to support their stance on the issue. When a judge rules against an objecting property owner, the decision can be appealed. However, the government will usually be allowed to seize the property before the appeal is heard. If the property owner prevails on appeal, they will be compensated financially.

An owner of real estate who has been notified about an eminent domain action might want to speak with an attorney who has experience in real estate and land use matters. Before the property owner accepts an offer from the government, the attorney may be able to help to negotiate for a higher value. If the client wishes to contest the government's decision to take commercial real estate that they own, the attorney can provide representation during any subsequent real estate litigation.

Source: FindLaw,"Challenging Eminent Domain", accessed on Feb. 11, 2015

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