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What is eminent domain? Kiritsis Law Group 212 922 0005

May 13, 2021

By: John Kiritsis, Esq., CPA, MBA, MS, JD, LL.M

The state’s power to take private property, upon a just compensation payment for a public use. Some jurisdictions may alternatively and/or in addition, refer to eminent domain as an appropriation, expropriation and/or condemnation. The subject of eminent domain often causes heated political discussion, regarding the meanings of just compensation and public use. The concept of eminent domain is often regarded as a necessary evil, in American property law. On the one hand, eminent domain is a useful legal mechanism that allows governments to maximize the use of land for the public good (i.e. infrastructure building and securing the border). On the other hand, it may lead to government overreach by taking privately owned property from the productive private sector to a government bureaucracy. Based on my experience, local governments try to avoid and/or minimize their exercise of their eminent domain power, because of the potential risk for litigation, as well as, jeopardizing political capital. A notable situation is when a government exercises eminent domain to take private property and give it to another private property, which the government argues will better use it to serve public. 

 

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