Condemnation/Eminent Domain Lawsuits
Eminent Domain Lawsuits in Los Angeles, California
The lawyers at The Horowitz Law Firm, APC aggressively assert the rights of property owners facing seizure of their homes or businesses by the power of eminent domain. We represent residential and commercial property owners in negotiations with condemnors and in eminent domain litigation throughout California.
Contact The Horowitz Law Firm, APC Attorneys at Law, to speak with an eminent domain trial attorney about your eminent domain lawsuit in Los Angeles, and throughout California.
Eminent Domain Litigation
The law requires the condemning agency to try to reach a resolution with a property owner through negotiation. But, if there is no meeting of the minds – in other words, if the agency has not made an offer that the property owner finds satisfactory – then the condemnor may need to proceed with the filing of an eminent domain lawsuit.
Before the condemning agency can sue, it must hold a public hearing and have a vote to pass what is called a Resolution of Necessity. If the resolution is approved, a lawsuit usually follows fairly quickly thereafter.
You will then receive a summons and complaint notifying you that your property is being condemned.
In order to protect yourself, you must prepare an answer to the lawsuit and file it with the court.
Full Compensation for Your Losses
You have a right to a jury trial. Some issues in an eminent domain lawsuit will be determined by a judge, but jurors from your community can determine the fair market value of your property. If there is a partial taking, you may have a right to recover severance damages. If you have a business, you have a right to recover any loss of business goodwill.
These types of issues should be asserted at the time you file your answer to the eminent domain lawsuit.
The timing of valuation can be significant, particularly in this volatile California real estate market. If a condemning agency wishes to obtain early possession of the property, they must deposit with the court the amount of probable compensation, based on an appraisal performed by the agency.
Once the money is deposited, this typically becomes the date of valuation, regardless of when the trial takes place. However, constitutional arguments may be made to argue otherwise. It does not, however, mean that this is the amount you will actually receive. With the help of an eminent domain trial attorney, you may be able obtain a larger settlement or jury award than what the public agency initially deposited with the court. Many eminent domain cases can be resolved before trial, through mediation with a private mediator or through a settlement conference with a judge.
Other Eminent Domain Issues
Challenging Eminent Domain: Although possible, it is very difficult to challenge a taking. To do so, the property owner must be able to prove that the property is not being condemned for a public use or that the property is not necessary for the public project. Although rare, if you believe your property is being condemned unfairly, please contact us.
Inverse Condemnation/Indirect Condemnation: Construction by government agencies near a residential or commercial property may have the effect of condemning the property. Even if a condemnor does not actually take the land, a property owner could be negatively affected, and if so, may be able to sue the government for the diminished value of their property. Our law firm can help you recover damages for your losses in an inverse condemnation lawsuit.
Even if the condemnation cannot be challenged, you still have rights as a property owner in an eminent domain litigation – the right to receive fair market value for your property, based on highest and best use, relocation assistance and other condemnation remedies, depending upon your situation.
Contact Our Sherman Oaks Property Condemnation Attorneys
If you are facing condemnation of your residential or business property, assert your constitutional rights. Contact a Sherman Oaks condemnation attorney, serving Los Angeles and all of California, at The Horowitz Law Firm, APC, eminent domain trial lawyers.