EMINENT DOMAIN ATTORNEYS – KENTUCKY

Thanks for visiting the Sever Storey web page for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. There is a ton of great information on this page including videos about the eminent domain and condemnation process and how to get just compensation in Kentucky. As eminent domain attorneys for landowners we represent a lot of Kentucky landowners just like you and have tried to address your key questions. A lot of the information may appear below the fold so take as long as you need to explore the page. If you need immediate attention please contact us directly at 1-888-318-3761 or email at info@landownerattorneys.com.Landowner Attorneys Kentucky Sign

WHAT IS THE EMINENT DOMAIN / CONDEMNATION PROCESS IN KENTUCKY?

NEGOTIATIONS
The eminent domain process begins when your property is identified for acquisition by whatever condemning authority is in charge of the project. Early on, the condemning authority will typically obtain an appraisal of your property, which it uses to form the basis for its valuation of your property. Prior to initiating an eminent domain proceeding or filing any petition with the Circuit Court, the condemning authority is required to try to come to an agreement for the purchase of your property.

CONDEMNATION
After the petition is approved by the local governing body it is filed with the Circuit Court. The court subsequently appoints three commissioners to determine the condemnation award for your property. The commissioners have 15 days from the date of their appointment to provide the Circuit Court with a written report providing the amount of the condemnation award. After receipt of the award from the commissioners and upon application of the condemning authority, the clerk of the Circuit Court will serve a summons on the property owner and include a statement of the amount of the award.

APPEALS
The property owner has 20 days after receiving the summons to answer and show cause why the condemning authority does not have the right to take the property. If the taking satisfies the public use, then no action is necessary at this time.

If the summons is not answered within 20 days, the court will order approval for the use of eminent domain and authorize the condemning authority to take possession of the property. Authorization is granted upon payment of commissioner’s award to the property owner or the clerk of court.

However, either party can appeal the condemnation award by filing exceptions. Exceptions may only pertain to the amount of compensation owed. They must be filed within 30 days of the Courts’ authorization of the use of eminent domain. If exceptions are not filed, the Court orders the transfer of title, and the final judgment will be made.

TRIAL
If exceptions are filed by either party, the case will be set for jury trial limited to only the amount of compensation paid. As frequently happens in civil litigation, the parties are free to negotiate and settle the dispute outside of court at any time before or during the jury trial.

WHY SHOULD I LISTEN TO YOU?

At Sever Storey, we are lawyers that find solutions and deliver results. We’ve represented hundreds of landowners and businesses that have been affected by eminent domain and condemnation, and we’ve figured out what works. Our attorneys have extensive practical experience and are familiar with the unique problems that often arise in the eminent domain and condemnation processes. This invaluable experience allows our attorneys to identify issues and solve problems you might not have even contemplated. On behalf of our clients, we’ve squared off against state and local governments, pipeline and power line operators, and developers. We have represented farmers, business owners, and residential landowners from all walks of life. Clients come to our attorneys with cases where a few hundred dollars is at stake, and we represent them just as passionately as we represent clients whose cases involve millions of dollars of compensation. We’ve even taught other attorneys how to better serve clients faced with eminent domain or condemnation. When we give recommendations and advice, you can rest assured it’s coming from experienced, knowledgeable attorneys who are looking out for you.

WHAT IS EMINENT DOMAIN/CONDEMNATION?

Eminent domain is the process by which states and localities have the right to condemn and force the sale of private property usually in order to serve a public purpose. In some situations, states or localities have given this power to administrative agencies, local utilities, or local boards, e.g. library boards. Condemnation is the act of a government exercising its power of eminent domain, not to be confused with the legal process where a building is designated as no longer fit for habitation. Traditionally, private property was often taken for public uses like building freeways, schools, bridges, and more recently certified technology parks. Only a judge can decide whether or not a taking is for a public purpose should there be a dispute between the property owner and the state.

Condemnation is the process by which the taking authority will acquire your land. This process is controlled by statute. A discussion of the condemnation process can be found following this section. Think of it this way, eminent domain represents the power to take, condemnation is the process by which they take it.

Property can in certain situations be taken for private projects as well. Over the past few decades, the courts have interpreted what projects are for “public use” very broadly. The courts have deferred the decision of whether or not something is for a “public purpose” to the individual state legislatures. For example, some communities now use the power of eminent domain to seize “blighted” neighborhoods for redevelopment into more upscale condominiums and apartments. In situations such as these, the state serves as the “middleman,” taking the private property from one person to sell or give to another in order to spur economic growth. Projects such as these are often referred to as “economic development zones,” and our lawyers have a keen knowledge of these complicated situations.

While states and localities have the right of eminent domain, the U.S. Constitution entitles home and land owners to just compensation for their property by way of the 5th and 14th Amendments. After the government decides to take property, it will provide an appraiser to determine the fair market value of the land, which is the amount of money that the government is offering for the property. The appraiser will inspect the property and will review all other elements that might affect property value. Home or land owners can either accept or reject the government’s offering price. It is best to work with a lawyer in deciding whether or not to accept the government’s appraisal price and to protect your legal rights. There are often aspects of compensation that only an experienced lawyer may able to identify.

Why Should I Listen To You?
At Sever Storey, we are lawyers that find solutions and deliver results. We’ve represented hundreds of landowners and businesses that have been affected by eminent domain and condemnation, and we’ve figured out what works. Our attorneys have extensive practical experience and are familiar with the unique problems that often arise in the eminent domain and condemnation processes. This invaluable experience allows our attorneys to identify issues and solve problems you might not have even contemplated. On behalf of our clients, we’ve squared off against state and local governments, pipeline and power line operators, and developers. We have represented farmers, business owners, and residential landowners from all walks of life. Clients come to our attorneys with cases where a few hundred dollars is at stake, and we represent them just as passionately as we represent clients whose cases involve millions of dollars of compensation. We’ve even taught other attorneys how to better serve clients faced with eminent domain or condemnation. When we give recommendations and advice, you can rest assured it’s coming from experienced, knowledgeable attorneys who are looking out for you.

INVERSE CONDEMNATION

Governments may sometimes take actions that limit the use of your property. Typically, when the government plans on taking your property for a public purpose they institute a condemnation action using their powers of eminent domain. A more insidious inverse condemnation example is when the government action does not produce an obvious taking, such as acquisition of your land to build a road, but nonetheless significantly impacts the landowner’s property value. In these instances, a Kentucky landowner may bring an inverse condemnation lawsuit to hold the government accountable for the limitations they have created on your property.

Inverse condemnation may be a direct, physical taking of or interference with real or personal property by a public entity. For example, inverse condemnation actions have been successfully brought in the following situations:

• Where government construction caused flooding on property
• Where government construction caused sewage to escape on property
• Where government construction cause interference with land stability
• Significant interference with access to property

KENTUCKY EMINENT DOMAIN AND CONDEMNATION

At Sever Storey, we are lawyers who work exclusively for LANDOWNERS. Both the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s laws and the United States Constitution require that landowners receive just compensation in exchange for any land taken through the power of eminent domain. We firmly believe this language isn’t just a statement of puffery, but a right guaranteed to all citizens. This fundamental belief provides the foundation for the way we practice law. It is our mission, as landowner attorneys to stand up for the rights of Kentucky landowners and ensure the condemning authority taking our clients’ properties upholds its end of the bargain. Our attorneys never represent states, municipalities, utility companies, or any other condemning authorities. Instead, our entire practice is centered on representing and serving you, the Kentucky landowner.

Whether or not this is your first time hiring an attorney to represent you, you probably have some questions. Let’s get the big ones out of the way. Below are some of the most common questions our potential clients have for us, and we’ve done our best to answer them as thoroughly and honestly as possible. However, please remember that every case is different, and you may have some unique questions about your particular situation and condemnation. The responses below are designed to answer general questions about eminent domain, but if you want to discuss the particulars of your case or have additional questions, please give us a call or send us an email for a free consultation.

UTILITY TAKINGS IN KENTUCKY

It is our mission to hold the Commonwealth of Kentucky and utilities accountable to provide just compensation to landowners. Besides the State of Kentucky, landowners can have their land taken by eminent domain and condemnation by utility companies including water departments, electric and pipeline companies. These takings can include sewer installations, electric line construction, natural gas pipelines, oil pipelines and even coal gasification pipelines.

These types of takings present specific challenges to the landowner. They require certain expertise to properly evaluate. In many instances, landowners will need special experts to properly develop the case.

At Sever Storey, we have experience dealing with utility cases. We have represented numerous clients on sewer, pipeline and electric line installations. In each of these cases we were able to bring together the right team to hold the utility company accountable.

WHY KENTUCKY LANDOWNERS SHOULD CONSIDER A CONTINGENCY FEE IN AN EMINENT DOMAIN CASE

Many of our Kentucky clients are concerned about paying legal fees in an eminent domain action. That is why Sever Storey has provided contingency fee arrangements for its eminent domain clients. A contingency fee is simple, easy and cost effective for most clients. In a contingency fee arrangement our firm will only be paid if we recover more money than you were offered. In this arrangement we will take 33% of the amount that we add to the offer.

Let me give an example; let’s assume that you were offered $100,000.00 as part of the eminent domain action. You agree to hire our firm and we negotiate a settlement of $200,000.00. In this situation your fees would be $33,000.00.

Initial offer: $100,000.00 (client keeps this full amount)

Final Settlement: $200,000.00

Value added: $100,000.00

33% on value added: $33,000.00

Total to client: $167,000.00

If we were not able to successfully add value to your case then you would not owe attorney fees!

How does the client benefit from using a contingent-fee arrangement?
Risk is one of our Ohio clients’ biggest concerns. Many clients are very concerned about spending a lot of money on attorney fees when they believe that they may not recover more money. By using a contingency fee arrangement, the client eliminates this risk. It allows them to feel comfortable hiring qualified and experienced eminent domain attorneys like the ones at Sever Storey without worrying about fees and billing on a monthly basis.

An added general incentive of contingency fee arrangements is that they reduce the litigation of frivolous or bad cases and incentivize the attorneys to pursue better, more worthwhile cases. From an attorney perspective, why take a bad case if you won’t be paid? In a contingency fee arrangement the attorney has no incentive to conduct wasteful discovery, use unnecessary experts, or drive-up needless litigation costs. The attorney has every incentive to be efficient and, most importantly, win the case. In our opinion, a contingent-fee arrangement is the most efficient method of compensating the eminent domain attorney for the result obtained.

Why does Sever Storey prefer Contingency fee arrangements?
We prefer the contingent-fee arrangement because it is the model of efficiency. The arrangement aligns—perfectly—the interests of the client and attorney and effectively makes them business partners in the litigation. It is this partnership between client and attorney that provides the best possible results in the eminent domain case.

Hourly Arrangements Available
Hourly arrangements are available for those Kentucky individuals or corporations that desire a more traditional billing structure. Where there is a significant difference between the offer and the amount of compensation that we believe is owed, it may make financial sense for the client to adopt an hourly billing arrangement. This is as long as the client can afford the monthly fees. In situations where we are fighting a taking, we work exclusively on an hourly basis.

Per Ethical Rules: COURT COSTS AND CASE EXPENSES WILL BE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CLIENT.

WHEN SHOULD I HIRE A KENTUCKY EMINENT DOMAIN ATTORNEY

For many Kentucky landowners eminent domain can be a nerve-racking process.  In very short order eminent domain can quickly upset all of your plans for your property.  In addition, you are asked to make decisions about your property by the eminent domain authority very quickly.  It can all be very overwhelming and the possibilities of making a misstep can be significant.

So the question is: when should you hire/contact a Kentucky eminent domain attorney?

The answer:

1) You should contact an Kentucky eminent domain attorney AS SOON AS YOU BECOME AWARE YOUR PROPERTY IS WITHIN THE PATH OF THE ROUTE. Why this early? It allows your attorney enough time to start building a strategy. More often than not, you can learn the general path of a roadway or project over your property ahead of the appraisal. An experienced eminent domain attorney will automatically spot areas to look out for if the route is known.

2) You should HIRE AN ATTORNEY AS SOON AS YOU ARE PROVIDED AN APPRAISAL BY THE STATE/TOLLWAY/UTILITY COMPANY/ETC. This appraisal will give an experienced eminent domain attorney all he or she needs to know whether you have a case or not. It will provide the exact effect the project will have on your property, and will showcase the exact errors the condemning authority made in the valuation of your property.

Unsure if you should hire an eminent domain attorney? Let Sever Storey review your appraisal FOR FREE. Sever Storey attorneys are more than happy to take a look at your appraisal and GIVE YOU A FREE CASE REVIEW. No strings, no invoices, no hourly fees; just honest assessment and evaluation free of charge. Our attorneys are standing by, waiting for your call and free appraisal review.

If you are interested in a free consultation or appraisal review, contact our eminent domain landowner attorneys at 888-318-3761 or visit us on the web at landownerattorneys.com.

COMMERCIAL PROPERTY

Every time I meet a new client, one of the first things they want to know is if the offer made for their property is fair.

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POWER & PIPELINES

Many of our clients are concerned about paying legal fees in an eminent domain action.

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ROAD & REDEVELOPMENT TAKINGS

They say that moving is one of the most stressful things in your life. Imagine the stress and anxiety if you are forced to move...

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CONTACT US

Before going alone against the State let us give you our opinion. It is our pledge that we will provide a free case review for any individual or business facing eminent domain or condemnation. Contact us now at 888-318-3761

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