What is Eminent Domain in Florida?
Eminent domain is the power of certain governmental and private entities (known as the “condemning authority”) to take privately-owned property and use it for a public purpose. Inverse condemnation is a claim or right of action a property owner has against a condemning authority that has taken private property for a public purpose without the formal exercise of eminent domain in a lawsuit. In both types of matters, a skilled eminent domain lawyer is needed in order to best protect your interests.
In an eminent domain proceeding, the condemning authority seeks court approval for the taking, while in an inverse condemnation proceeding, the owner must prove the taking occurred. In both eminent domain and inverse condemnation, full compensation must be paid to an owner for the taking.
Henderson Franklin guides property owners and business owners who may be impacted by the threat of eminent domain. We consult with outside professionals as may be necessary, such as appraisers and engineers, in order to help the property owner and business owner present their claims for compensation in court. When appropriate, we will fight a taking pre-suit or in court. We evaluate property owner inverse condemnation claims and litigate those claims through the court system. Most of our eminent domain or inverse condemnation cases are in Lee County, Collier County, or Charlotte County, but we have represented clients in takings matters on the east coast and other areas of Florida, and we are available to take cases in all areas of the state.
Henderson Franklin's eminent domain lawyers also represent local government and private entity condemning authorities that need to acquire property interests for a public purpose, such as transmission lines, electric substations, public roads, and other public infrastructure. We work directly with condemning authority engineering, planning, and acquisition personnel to meet the project deadlines.
How an Eminent Domain Lawyer Can Help You
In short, we advise clients in all phases of the takings process, whether planning or opposing a taking. We can assist clients throughout Florida in the following areas:
- Pre-eminent domain planning, including evaluation of the five criteria used by Florida courts to determine the necessity for a taking, and preparation of the resolution of necessity for the condemning authority;
- Pre-suit negotiation with opposing parties and counsel;
- Selection and retention of outside professionals needed for taking, or for defending against taking and seeking compensation;
- Filing eminent domain lawsuits on behalf of condemning authorities;
- Defending property owners and business owners named in eminent domain lawsuits;
- Evaluating and litigating inverse condemnation claims on behalf of property owners; and
- Defending local government and private entities sued for inverse condemnation.
In addition, our clients also benefit from Henderson Franklin's extensive resources provided by our other practice areas. For example, we work closely with the attorneys in our Real Estate Department to take advantage of their specialized knowledge of title questions and access issues. We also work with our Land Use Department on land development code interpretation and issues that may impact how, or whether, real property can be developed.