Eminent domain is the legal term used for the government's power to seize or take private property without the owner’s consent. Another term used is “Condemnation”. However, this power is limited and there are two conditions. First, the government can only take private property for a public purpose, such as constructing a roadway or public building like a courthouse, stadium or school. Second, the 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires that the government pay just compensation to the property owner for the property taken. Just compensation generally means the fair market value of the property. This is often open to debate.
The process to determine whether the government is actually taking one's private property for public use and how to determine what just compensation for the property is can be a complicated legal process and requires expert opinions as to the value of the property.
The Law Offices of Michael A. Ruggieri, LLC has experience in representing property owners in these types of cases and can help you get just compensation for your property when the government is trying to take it. Some of our success stories involve recovering for clients just compensation well in excess of what the government originally offered for the property.