Eminent domain is a legal concept that most business leaders in Illinois probably never anticipate encountering. It is a concept that comes into play for decision-makers when property or property rights are being taken – or “condemned” – by a government or other qualified entity for a public purpose.
If property owned by your business is facing eminent domain litigation, it is a good idea to understand the basics of this legal concept.
Eminent domain basics
For starters, a governmental entity cannot take your company’s property or property rights for just any reason – it must be for a public purpose. However, if you are involved in eminent domain litigation, one of the arguments you might make is to contest the purported public purpose behind the proposed project.
A road project, for example, would almost certainly be considered to be a public purpose. Other reasons may not.
Another term our readers will see frequently when it comes to eminent domain is “just compensation.” This term refers to what a property owner receives for the property or property rights taken – usually a payment.
If you are engaged in eminent domain litigation, another argument might be to fight about the value of the property or property rights being taken. Your property appraiser may have a very different opinion of value than that of the condemning entity.
Although state and federal laws are designed to try to streamline eminent domain proceedings as much as possible, the fact is that these types of cases can become quite complicated in a hurry. Be sure to know your business options when it comes to eminent domain cases.