Can a person fight eminent domain? The answer to that question is absolutely yes they can. Florida has a very good statute as far as eminent domain’s concerned. What it provides for is that when there’s a taking by a governmental entity or someone authorized to go through eminent domain, they make an offer to you and if you say, “No, I don’t want to sell it for that.” Then you can fight the eminent domain, however, if you later settle, you don’t have to pay your attorney fees and the attorney is entitled to, I believe it’s 1/3 of the difference between whatever the initial offer was by the governmental agency taking your property, and how much you actually receive. You receive the net amount and the attorney fees are paid by the condemning authority.
Challenging the condemning authority is very difficult to accomplish, but yes, you can do that and you can have a trial as far as that’s concerned. Usually the governmental, the condemning authority, has what they call a quick take program and they go in there and try and take the property right away, but if you’re going to fight the eminent domain, you need to show that they don’t have to take your property and it’s not necessarily in the best interest and probably your attorney who, if you call me I will be glad to send you the right direction as far as the attorney to do that, to try and negotiate with the condemning authority as to whether or not their plans can be modified or why they need to take your property.
Of course, by the time they get around to … Hopefully they’re starting the process of trying to take your property before all the plans are put in place, because you can imagine what the engineering is for a major highway or whatever and then you want them to change the plans and not take your property. The answer to your question is yes, you can fight eminent domain. The good news is is the governmental agency pays your attorney fees if they are successful and so the attorney gets paid in addition to you getting paid if the governmental condemning authority is successful.
I’m not sure how they measure the attorney fees if you are successful in defeating the taking itself. If you have a question, or have an eminent domain situation, give me a call at 727-847-2288 and I’ll head you in the right direction. Thank you.