Eminent Domain

The government has the power to forcibly take private property for a public use. It is one of government’s most awesome powers and one that is all too often abused. But to do so, it must meet certain criteria. That power is known as eminent domain and despite the government’s power to take, property owners have rights that, through skill, can be protected.

California law requires that before the government can initiate a legal action to take private property, it must first make an offer to the owner to purchase it. Property owners are not typically in a position to evaluate the government’s offer, appreciate the nature of the property interests being taken from them, or understand the scope and impact of the resulting public use for which the property is being taken. Government’s offer generally come out of the blue after significant analysis, leaving the property owner at a disadvantage and short of time.

Property rights are the bedrock of American freedom.

Perhaps of greater consequence is that an owner may perceive a lack of bargaining power when faced with a right-of-way agent armed with an appraisal and sent by the government. The result is an owner may receive less than fair market value for the property taken and little or nothing in damages resulting from the take. The court may award an owner litigation expenses if it finds the government’s final offer was unreasonable and the owner’s offer was reasonable.

That is where we come in.

JW Howard attorneys have extensive experience guiding property owners through what can be a frightening experience. We can carefully defend property owners faced with the awesome power of government and either prevent the taking altogether or maximize the owner’s return. But this is a highly specialized area of law implicating real estate law and Constitutional protections. It requires a firm foundation in the limitations of government and a willingness to take on the most power force in society.

JW Howard Attorneys has that experience. JW Howard attorneys, have that skill.

JW Howard. Protecting freedom by protecting property rights.

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