Eminent domain is the process whereby the government takes private property, even against an Ohio property owner’s wishes, in exchange for compensation. In order for the taking to be legal under eminent domain, though, the proposed use must be for public use. An example of eminent domain would be the government paying fair market value for a piece of land so that it can expand a highway.
However, sometimes, even the partial taking of one’s private property can decimate the value of the entire property. For example, if the government takes a business’s parking lot in order to build a round-about, under the traditional definition of eminent domain, the government would only have to pay for the value of the parking lot. The business, though, may claim that without a parking lot its entire business will suffer and, as such, the government has essentially taken all of its property. When a governmental taking of a piece of land greatly damages the use of the land as a whole, it is referred to inverse condemnation.
Individuals who have been subjected to inverse condemnation have been able to successfully pursue lawsuits against local governments for damages unfairly caused to them, whether through construction projects or the leaking of chemicals and wastewater. This is no small thing, as these lawsuits are often aggressively defended against by teams of attorneys, and the damages can be significant.
In order to succeed on these claims, individuals need to be prepared with a strong understanding of the law and how it applies to their set of circumstances. Additionally, they need to be able to present their position in a way that is persuasive. While many of these types of cases settle well before trial, they do wind up being litigated in front of a judge and jury. Regardless of the route taken in a case, an individual would be best served by being represented by someone who can competently and aggressively advocate for their position.