Picking your battles in an eminent domain case in Ohio

| May 21, 2021 | Eminent Domain |

When Ohio residents are notified that their property will be subject to an eminent domain claim, they are almost certainly being drawn into the issue involuntarily – and perhaps with little notice beforehand. Yes, road improvement projects and other public works are quite common, but to be drawn into such a project as an adjacent landowner can be disconcerting. A landowner’s first instinct might be anger or confusion. And, with those feelings, likely comes the urge to fight back against the claim.

Challenging an eminent domain claim

If you are wondering whether or not you can challenge the claim on your property, the short answer is “yes.” Such a claim must be associated with a “public purpose” for the use on the property to be taken. You can challenge that the purpose for the claim is not, in fact, for public use.

However, it is important to consider your options if you want to pick this battle. While you likely have the legal right and ability to challenge the claim on public purpose grounds, the fact is that such challenges can come with an enormous burden on the challenging landowner. They are, in short, quite difficult to win. The law is favorable to the government and public entities that are empowered with the ability to make eminent domain claims.

A better battle to pick might be over the value of the claim. The condemning authority will make an initial offer for the property or property rights needed – you do not have to accept that initial offer. You could push back and claim that your property is valued much higher. In some situations, condemning authorities may be able to pay you more for your property than initially offered.