Eminent Domain and Government Takings

Ethan Vessels has handled eminent domain actions in both Ohio and West Virginia. “Eminent domain” refers to the governmental taking of property – usually real estate. The government can, and often does, take private property for public use, yet the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees our right to receive fair compensation for our property.

The first question: Does the government have a sufficient “public necessity” to take the property? If not, the government should not be taking the property.

The second question: Will the government voluntarily pay the fair value? Will the government also pay the fair value for the damage to the property left behind? Often, the answer is no.

Landowners have the right for a jury determine the fair compensation, and this requires a trial lawyer with experience in eminent domain actions.

In 2008, Ethan Vessels (with co-counsel) successfully tried an eminent domain case in Washington County, Ohio – a result of the Ohio Route 7 road-widening project. The jury returned a verdict for $389,000, more than doubling the state’s final offer. (This is believed to be the only case that went to trial regarding the Route 7 widening project.)

The eminent domain process in Ohio is complicated, but if you are threatened with a government taking of your land, you should consult an attorney as soon as possible.

Contact Us

If you have an eminent domain question or need representation, please call us at 740-374-5346 or fill out a contact form. We offer free initial consultations and, in most cases, we offer contingent fees. If there is no recovery, there is no fee.