For many Ohio 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 deicisions about your property by the eminent domain authority very quickly. It can all be very overwhelming and the possibilities of making a mis step can be significant.
Eminent domain is an extremely niche area of law. Many attorneys have no idea how to handle it and what to do; there is no reason for you to be expected to be able to handle it yourself.
So the question is: when should you hire/contact an Ohio eminent domain attorney?
1) You should contact an Ohio 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 and gather facts. 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 Ohio eminent domain attorney like the ones at Sever Storey all they need to have to know whether you are entitled to more just compensation. The appraisal also will provide valuable information. For instance it will provide the exact effect the project will have on your property, and will showcase the errors the condemning authority made in the valuation of your property.
Unsure if you should hire an eminent domain attorney? Let the Ohio Eminent Domain Attorneys at 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. One of our Ohio attorneys, George Padgett, is 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 contact an attorney by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ohio Farm Bureau recently released an article outlining five tips for Ohio property owners facing eminent domain. Click here to read the original article. While the list is not exhaustive, even these simple tips can be very helpful for landowners.
For more information about the eminent domain attorneys at Sever Storey, or if you are involved in your own eminent domain dispute, please contact our office at any time at 1-888-318-3761 or visit us on the web at www.landownerattorneys.com.
George Padgitt, Sever Storey
Many of our Ohio 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 Ohio 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: Clients must be ultimately responsible for court costs and expenses.
An area of eminent domain law that is often overlooked but affects a great number of people is the easement. Almost every eminent domain case includes and easement of some kind, and a fair amountof eminent domain cases involve only the taking of an easement. The following paragraphs will provide some basic information about easements in Ohio.
So, what is an easement? An easement is a property interest that grants the right to use the land of another. There are two parties involved. The grantor is the property owner that gives the easement, and the grantee is the other person that receives the benefit of the easement. However, the grantee of an easement is not given all of the property rights tied to the land, and therefore, an easement does not amount to full ownership. An easement gives the grantee the right to use the property for a certain purpose, but ownership remains with the grantor.
A good example is a utility easement. A utility company needs to run its pipes, lines, etc. under or on other people’s property in order to serve its customers. Instead of buying all of the necessary land, utility companies negotiate easement agreements with landowners. This allows them to run their pipes, lines, etc. without needing to own massive amounts of property. These utility easements tend to last for a very long time, if not for perpituity, due to the costly nature of installing and providing utilities.
However, not all easements leave as lasting a mark as utility easements. An easement can be as simple as an agreement to allow another person to drive across your property to access theirs. This type of easement is for a very limited purpose and does not require the alteration of the property invovled. It also might only last for a limited period of time.
If you are affected by eminent domain, then it is likely that an easement will be involved. For more information about the eminent domain attorneys at Sever Storey, or if you are involved in your own eminent domain dispute involving an easement, please contact our office at any time at 1-888-318-3761 or visit us on the web at www.landownerattorneys.com.
It is our mission to hold the State of Ohio and utilities accountable to provide just compensation to landowners. Besides the State of Ohio, 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.
Eminent domain procedure is codified by Statute. The following is a reproduction of this statute. For the original web based material click here.
Chapter 163: APPROPRIATION OF PROPERTY
163.01 Appropriation of property definitions.
As used in sections 163.01 to 163.22 of the Revised Code:
(A) “Public agency” means any governmental corporation, unit, organization, instrumentality, or officer authorized by law to appropriate property in the courts of this state.
(B) “Private agency” means any corporation, firm, partnership, voluntary association, joint-stock association, or company that is not a public agency and that is authorized by law to appropriate property in the courts of this state.
(C) “Agency” means any public agency or private agency.
(D) “Court” means the court of common pleas or the probate court of any county in which the property sought to be appropriated is located in whole or in part.
(E) “Owner” means any individual, partnership, association, or corporation having any estate, title, or interest in any real property sought to be appropriated.
(F) “Real property,” “land,” or “property” includes any estate, title, or interest in any real property that is authorized to be appropriated by the agency in question, unless the context otherwise requires.
(G) “Public utility” has the same meaning as in section 4905.02 of the Revised Code and also includes a public utility owned or operated by one or more municipal corporations, an electric cooperative, and an agency holding a certificate of public convenience and necessity granted by the federal energy regulatory commission.
(1) “Public use” does not include any taking that is for conveyance to a private commercial enterprise, economic development, or solely for the purpose of increasing public revenue, unless the property is conveyed or leased to one of the following:
(a) A public utility, municipal power agency, or common carrier;
(b) A private entity that occupies a port authority transportation facility or an incidental area within a publicly owned and occupied project;
(c) A private entity when the agency that takes the property establishes by a preponderance of the evidence that the property is a blighted parcel or is included in a blighted area.
(2) All of the following are presumed to be public uses: utility facilities, roads, sewers, water lines, public schools, public institutions of higher education, private institutions of higher education that are authorized to appropriate property under section 3333.08 of the Revised Code, public parks, government buildings, port authority transportation facilities, projects by an agency that is a public utility, and similar facilities and uses of land.
(I) “Electric cooperative” has the same meaning as in section 4928.01 of the Revised Code.
(J) “Good faith offer” means the written offer that an agency that is appropriating property must make to the owner of the property pursuant to division (B) of section 163.04 of the Revised Code before commencing an appropriation proceeding.
(K) “Goodwill” means the calculable benefits that accrue to a business as a result of its location, reputation for dependability, skill or quality, and any other circumstances that result in probable retention of old, or acquisition of new, patronage.
(L) “Municipal power agency” has the same meaning as in section 3734.058 of the Revised Code.
(M) “Port authority transportation facility” means any facility developed, controlled, or operated by a port authority for the purpose of providing passenger, cargo, or freight transportation services, such as airports, maritime ports, rail facilities, transit facilities, and support facilities directly related to any airport, maritime port, rail facility, or transit facility.
Effective Date: 06-30-1991; 2007 SB7 10-10-2007
At Sever Storey, LANDOWNERS are our lawyers’ ONLY clients. WE believe that the State of Ohio and Federal constitutions demand that landowners receive just compensation for any property taken through condemnation and/or eminent domain. This belief is more than a mere attitude. This is our core and fundamental belief. It is our attorneys’ mission to represent Ohio landowners and ensure that the government or taking authority is held accountable under the Constitution for the true value of any land acquired through the eminent domain process. Our lawyers will never represent a State, municipality, public utility or any other taking authority. Our firm and purpose are built around serving you, the Ohio landowner.
For many individuals visiting this website, this may be the first time you have had the pleasure of hiring an attorney. You likely have a few questions. So let’s get the big ones out of the way. Please keep in mind that no case is the same. The information below is designed to answer big picture legal questions. If you would like to discuss the particulars of your case, then please call or send one of our lawyers an email for a free evaluation.
Governments are traditionally allowed to take certain actions that limit the use of your property. Typically, when the government intends to take your property for a public purpose, they institute a condemnation action using the power of eminent domain. The much more sinister “acquisition” is the governmental action that fails to result in a physical taking, but nonetheless indirectly and significantly impacts the landowner’s property. In these cases, an Ohio landowner may bring an action in inverse condemnation to hold the government responsible for the limitations it has placed on your 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.LEARN MORE
Many of our clients are concerned about paying legal fees in an eminent domain action.LEARN MORE
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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