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Eminent Domain

With land and infrastructure developments, more landowners find themselves faced with the risk of having property taken by eminent domain for highways, gas and sewer lines, power lines, school sites and other governmental and utility uses. This process is also known as land condemnation. While eminent domain should only be exercised when the land or its interests are needed for the public good, that concept is often open to broad interpretation, and the improper seizing of property for other uses can occur. While anyone whose holdings are properly seized should be reimbursed the fair market value of harmed and lost property under our Constitution’s 5th Amendment, the actual amount offered may be far below the required, just, full and fair amount.

The Van Winkle Law Firm offers extensive experience in eminent domain law, having represented condemnees including owners of single and multi-family homes, multi-use commercial developments, shopping centers, timber land, farms, convenience stores, industrial parks, undeveloped land and tenants of leased property. Our firm ensures our clients’ best interests are at the forefront of all proceedings.

Types of Services

  • Seeking Project Plan Changes
  • Seeking Compensation in Land Condemnation Cases for Property Owners
  • Pursuit of Compensation for Impaired Access and Usability of Property
  • Zoning Challenges
  • Environmental Contamination Claims
  • Assessment of Severance and Remaining Property Damages
  • Obtaining Survey, Valuation, Engineering, Land Use and Other Experts to Assist in Prosecution of Compensation Claims
  • Representation in Negotiation and Mediation
  • Maximizing Tax Benefits for Compensation Received

Practice Highlights

  • Represented international paper company defending eminent domain case brought by Buncombe County, N.C. seeking to condemn land for county landfill resulting in jury verdict in client’s favor, implementing total recovery exceeding $1.1 million plus costs.
  • Successfully represented eight landowners with small businesses, raw land and homes against North Carolina Department of Transportation when their highway frontage was changed due to widening of U.S. Highway 74, resulting in total recoveries exceeding $2 million, averaging triple the compensation offered by NCDOT.
  • Helped victims of sewer line condemnation in Buncombe County recover approximately 15 times greater compensation than was offered by sewer authority.
  • Represented Haywood County convenience store owner against NCDOT resulting in jury verdict over 30 times greater than the compensation offered by NCDOT, excluding interest.