State Laws on Eminent Domain

Eminent domain refers to the power of the state to appropriate property within the state for a public use.  States passed eminent domain legislation in response to the US Supreme Court decision in Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005).  The case decided the question of the use of eminent domain to transfer land from one private owner to another to further economic development.

State governments have delegated the power of eminent domain to their political subdivisions, such as cities and counties.  In some jurisdictions, the state delegates eminent domain power to certain public and private companies, typically utilities, such that they can bring eminent domain actions to run telephone, power, water, or gas lines.  Eminent domain law and legal procedures vary, sometimes significantly, between jurisdictions.  The usual procedure in a condemnation proceeding is that the condemning agency attempts to negotiate the purchase of the property for a fair value.  If the owner refuses to sell, the agency files an action before court.  After hearing  the owner of the property and the condemning agency, if the government is successful in its petition, proceedings are held to establish the fair market value of the property.  If the government is not successful, or if the property owner is not satisfied with the outcome, either side may appeal the decision.


Inside State Laws on Eminent Domain