As Florida’s population continues to grow, there is an increased need for new roads and the expansion of existing roads and utilities. While governmental entities usually first attempt to negotiate for the voluntary acquisition of private property, these same entities must often resort to the power of “eminent domain” to acquire private property necessary for a project. Eminent domain is the power given to the government to take or “condemn” private property for public use.
At de la Parte & Gilbert, we have extensive experience representing both government and property owners.
We have advised government clients in all aspects of the eminent domain process and in inverse condemnation cases, including presuit negotiations, trial, mediation and appeals. Combined, our attorneys have handled right of way acquisitions on major projects, including Interstate 4, U.S. Highway 41, Hillsborough Avenue, and Dale Mabry Highway in Hillsborough County; U.S. Highway 41, State Road 54 and State Road 56 in Pasco County; Park Avenue in Pinellas County; U.S. Highway 41 and State Road 50 in Hernando County; County Road 48 and U.S. 301 in Sumter County, and several major water supply pipelines and wellfields.
We have also advised and represented property owners regarding their rights. A property owner whose property is being condemned should hire a law firm that is knowledgeable and experienced in eminent domain. Because the taking of property can have great consequences, the U.S. Constitution and Florida Constitution impose strict legal conditions on the process and require that full compensation be paid to the property owner. Property “owners” may also include persons leasing the property or others who may claim other types of legal interests in the property. Sometimes, business owners may be eligible for damages to their business operating on the property taken. At de la Parte & Gilbert, we take a team approach which includes working with appraisers, land use planners, engineers, accountants and contractors to develop trial and valuation strategies to give the property owner a fair and equitable result.
Our firm also has extensive environmental and administrative experience which is invaluable because many eminent domain cases involve regulatory issues which can impact the value of the property and the amount of money that can be recovered.
In representing property owners, we seek our fees from the government, not the person whose property is being condemned. The amount of reasonable attorney’s fees, expert fees and costs are determined by Florida law and are paid by the government, not by the property or business owner. The amount of legal expenses the government must pay does not affect the amount of the property owner’s compensation.