What is eminent domain?
Eminent domain is the process by which the government can take private property for public use without the consent of the owner. We've answered Frequently Asked Questions About Eminent Domain, on this dedicated FAQ page.
Hahn Loeser’s experience in eminent domain law:
Hahn Loeser has experienced eminent domain attorneys across multiple areas of law, including litigation, land use and zoning, environmental, real estate, municipal, corporate and tax. The eminent domain process often spans several areas of law and, as a large firm, we are able to call upon attorneys with the relevant experience when needed.
Beyond our services, our Eminent Domain Team of attorneys works closely with other professionals to bring our clients the resources they need, including appraisers, land planners, accountants, and engineers.
We have experience representing clients in eminent domain cases in Florida against the following condeming authorities:
We have handled thousands of eminent domain and property rights cases throughout Florida on behalf of our clients. Our long presence in Southwest Florida has provided us a unique advantage of understanding the local regulations and knowing the governmental representatives who can impact your case.
In addition to our experience representing property owners against condemning authorities, our attorneys have also previously represented condemning authorities, giving them insight not only into the issues facing the property owner, but also the issues, strategies and insights of the condemning authority.
We bring this experience and insight to each of our client relationships and provide representation throughout every phase of the eminent domain process. Our representation includes:
- Pre-litigation project updates
Twice a year (or more often as projects become more active), we provide you with updates on the status of the project and how any changes may impact your property.
- Pre-litigation counseling and property analysis
Prior to suit being filed by the condemning authority, we will meet with you to discuss your property, your rights, the project, and how the project will impact your property.
- Preparing and filing all responses in the eminent domain lawsuit
Once suit is filed, we will file responses on your behalf, including all responsive pleadings, discovery, motions and memoranda as may be necessary.
- Withdrawal of funds for use by you throughout the litigation
At an early stage in litigation, the condemning authority will deposit its estimate of value, including any damages, into the registry of the court. Subject to the interests of others (such as mortgagees, taxing authorities, etc.) we will file a motion on your behalf to withdraw the condemning authority’s estimate of value once deposited, so that you have use of those funds during the litigation.
- Consultation with the experts necessary to fully analyze your case and determine full compensation for you
Experts needed to analyze your case will be retained to evaluate the value of the property being taken and any impacts on the remainder of the property. If a business is involved, the appropriate business consultants will also be retained to determine damages to the business.
- Non-binding mediation
Before trial, mediation will be ordered by the court. We represent you in mediation presenting to the condemning authority and the mediator your position in the case. The vast majority of eminent domain cases are resolved in mediation.
- Jury trial and appeals
Should mediation not be successful, our team will try the case in front of a 12-person jury and handle any appeals that result.
Your Rights In Eminent Domain Cases:
Hahn Loeser’s eminent domain attorneys represent private property owners, business owners, and commercial tenants, ensuring they understand their rights under this law and that their interests are protected. These rights include:
- Entitlement to compensation for property that is taken under eminent domain.
- Compensation for damages caused to the remaining property as a result of the taking of property through eminent domain.
- Rejecting the government’s offer of compensation for the property.
- Obtaining an appraisal to determine the market value of the property being taken and any severance damages that may result.
- Legal representation, even during pre-lawsuit negotiation and through trial, if needed.
- Compensation for damages to a business.
- The condemning authority is responsible for all costs of representation, including fees for appraisers, land use consultants, engineers or other experts needed to analyze your case. In addition to these experts, the condemning authority is also required to pay your attorney’s fees.
Our Eminent Domain Counsel Costs You Nothing:
Hiring eminent domain counsel is an important step in the condemnation process. It is important to retain counsel at an early stage in the process. Actions that you take regarding your property can impact valuation issues when they become relevant later in the proceedings. The condemning authority is responsible for paying all of the costs you would otherwise incur. Retaining counsel as soon as you become aware that the government is considering condemning your property is the first step in making sure you are fully compensated. The advice you receive and the actions you take may very well impact the outcome of your case. The advice costs you nothing.
2400 First Street, Suite 300
Fort Myers, FL 33901
Attorneys Mike Whitt and Ken Jones have been recognized in Best Lawyers 2021.
Ken Jones has also been recognized by Super Lawyers.
Mike Whitt is Board Certified by The Florida Bar as a Specialist in Business Litigation.
Mike Whitt, Ken Jones and Meredith McBride have all been appointed to The Florida Bar Association's Eminent Domain Committee.