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Idaho Eminent Domain Laws

Idaho eminent domain laws can be found in chapter 7, title 7 of Code of Civil Procedure.  Pursuant to Idaho Code § 7-701, the state or its agents may exercise the right to eminent domain for public use.  Eminent domain proceedings must be brought in the district court for the county in which the property is situated by filing a complaint and issuing a summons thereon[i].  The court shall have power:

1. To regulate and determine the place and manner of making connections and crossings, or of enjoying the common use.
2. To hear and determine all adverse or conflicting claims to the property sought to be condemned and to the damages therefor.
3. To determine the respective rights of different parties seeking condemnation of the same property[ii].

Pursuant to Idaho Code § 7-711, the court, jury, or referee must hear such legal testimony as may be offered by any of the parties to the proceedings, and thereupon must ascertain and assess the value of the property sought to be condemned, and all improvements thereon, and of each and every separate estate or interest therein; if it consists of different parcels, the value of each parcel and each estate or interest therein shall be separately assessed.  The right to compensation and damages shall be deemed to have accrued at the date of the summons, and its actual value, at that date, shall be the measure of compensation for all property to be actually taken[iii].

Pursuant to Idaho Code § 7-714, the plaintiff must, within 30 days after final judgment, pay the sum of money assessed.  However, at the time of or before payment, the plaintiff may elect to build the fences and cattle guards, and, if he so elect, shall execute to the defendant a bond, with sureties to be approved by the court, double the assessed cost of the same.  If the plaintiff gives such bond, s/he need not pay the cost of such fences and cattle guards. In an action on such bond the plaintiff may recover reasonable attorney’s fees.

Pursuant to Idaho Code § 7-715 the plaintiff shall make payment to the defendants or deposit money in court for the defendants for distribution to those entitled.  In the case of a failure of payment, the defendants may have execution as in civil cases. And if the money cannot be made on execution, the court must set aside and annul the entire proceedings and restore possession of the property to the defendant, if possession has been taken by the plaintiff.

Pursuant to Idaho Code § 7-716, when the plaintiff makes payment or gives bond, the court must make final order of condemnation, which must describe the property condemned and the purposes of such condemnation.  A copy of the order must be filed in the office of the recorder of the county, and thereupon the property described therein shall vest in the plaintiff for the purposes therein specified.

Pursuant to Idaho Code § 7-717, at any time after trial and judgment entered, or pending an appeal from the judgment to the Supreme Court, when the plaintiff has made payment to the defendant, the court may authorize the plaintiff, if already in possession, to continue therein or take possession of and use the property during the conclusion of the litigation, and may stay all actions and proceedings against the plaintiff on account thereof.  The defendant, who is entitled to the money paid into court for him upon any judgment, shall be entitled to demand and receive the same at any time thereafter, upon obtaining an order therefor from the court.  It shall be the duty of the court, or the judge thereof, upon application being made by such defendant, to order and direct that the money so paid into court for him, be delivered to him upon his filing a satisfaction of the judgment, or upon his filing a receipt therefor, and an abandonment of all defenses to the action or proceeding, except as to the amount of damages that he may be entitled to in the event that a new trial shall be granted.  A payment to a defendant as aforesaid shall be held to be an abandonment by such defendant of all defenses interposed by him or her, excepting his or her claim for greater compensation.  The plaintiff may take possession of and use such property at any time after just compensation has been judicially determined and payment thereof made into court[iv].

[i] Idaho Code § 7-706.

[ii] Idaho Code § 7-710.

[iii] Idaho Code § 7-712.

[iv] Idaho Code § 7-721.

Inside Idaho Eminent Domain Laws