Condemnation Pitfalls

While generally not a preferred tool, condemnation is sometimes needed to avoid situations like the one pictured above. Photo credit: Reuters

While generally not a preferred tool, condemnation is sometimes needed to avoid situations like the one pictured above. Photo credit: Reuters

Being active in a variety of professional organizations, I recently attended a networking luncheon at Rutan & Tucker’s offices.

The luncheon featured a presentation by Rutan & Tucker attorney Mike Rubin about the pitfalls of condemnation (“Pitfalls to Avoid in Public Acquisitions That May Involve Eminent Domain”). Cities sometimes resort to condemnation to purchase privately owned property at fair market value for a public purpose. The process involves a number of requisite actions that must be executed with great precision and care for both the public agency and the affected owner to protect the city’s legal position if eminent domain were to proceed towards a contentious end. The presentation highlighted cases involving pre-condemnation challenges (inverse condemnation) as well as challenges on eminent domain acquisition.

The materials provided include useful pieces on process (~270 days is the minimum timeframe, assuming everything goes perfectly, which it never does), typical mistakes on eminent domain appraisals (some of which happen when cities try to cut corners in the interest of cost), and other useful tips. With the aid of attorneys and tools like these, RSG helps communities improve fairly, respectfully, and legally.

Written by Jim Simon, a Principal at RSG