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Condemnation By Judicial Action

A state or an agency of a state can initiate condemnation proceedings by the institution of a judicial action[i].  The steps involved in the condemnation proceeding by judicial action are:

  • condemnor files a suit in the court to take the property;
  • all the persons having an interest in the property are made defendants or respondents;
  • all defendants are given the opportunity to appear and defend the suit;
  • ascertainment of property’s market value to fix the compensation; and
  • on proof of public purpose the property owner will be awarded with just compensation.

The purpose of judicial condemnation proceedings are

  • to establish title over the property that is intended to be condemned for a public purpose[ii];
  • to exclude all principal claims and interests that are on the property or that may be asserted by others on the property; and
  • to award just compensation to an owner whose property has been subjected to a condemnation proceeding[iii].

Thus under the condemnation proceeding by judicial action, the property can be condemned only by filing a petition in the court.

Generally the issue of the right to take property and the issue of just compensation are dealt in one suit[iv].  But there are some courts which treat each issue in a separate lawsuit.

[i] United States v. Clarke, 445 U.S. 253 (U.S. 1980).

[ii] Snider v. City of Excelsior Springs, 154 F.3d 809 (8th Cir. Mo. 1998).

[iii] United States v. 4.0 Acres of Land, 175 F.3d 1133 (9th Cir. Ariz. 1999).

[iv] MDM Invs. v. City of Carmel, 740 N.E.2d 929 (Ind. Ct. App. 2000).

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