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Missouri Eminent Domain Laws

Missouri eminent domain laws can be found in Chapter 523 of Title 36 of Missouri Statutes. Pursuant to § 523.010 R.S.Mo., in case land, or other property, is sought to be appropriated, by any road, railroad, street railway, telephone, telegraph or any electrical corporation, and such corporation and the owners cannot agree upon the proper compensation to be paid, or in the case the owner is incapable of contracting, such corporation may apply by petition to the circuit court of the county of Missouri where such land or any part thereof lies.

Any number of owners, residents in the same county or circuit, may be joined in one petition and the damages to each should be separately assessed by the same commissioners[i].

In all condemnation proceedings, just compensation for condemned property is determined under one of the three following subdivisions, whichever yields the highest compensation, as applicable to the particular type of property and taking[ii]:

  • An amount equivalent to the fair market value of such property;
  • For condemnations that result in a homestead taking, an amount equivalent to the fair market value of such property multiplied by one hundred twenty-five percent; or
  • For condemnations of property that result in any taking that prevents the owner from utilizing property in substantially the same manner as it was currently being utilized on the day of the taking and involving property owned within the same family for fifty or more years, an amount equivalent to the sum of the fair market value and heritage value.

The court on being satisfied that due notice of the pendency of the petition has been given, should appoint three disinterested commissioners[iii].  The commissioners should return to the clerk of such court, their report in duplicate of such assessment of damages, setting forth the amount of damages allowed to the person or persons named as owning or claiming the tract of land condemned.

Upon the filing of report of the commissioners, the clerk of the court in which the same is filed should duly notify the party whose property is affected of the filing.  The report of the commissioners may be reviewed by the court in which the proceedings are had, on written exceptions, filed by either party in the clerk’s office, within thirty days after the service of such notice; and the court should make such order as right and justice may require and may order a new appraisement upon good cause shown[iv].

In any action to condemn lands under the power of eminent domain, where the condemnor has paid into the office of the clerk of the circuit court the amount of damages assessed by commissioners pursuant to law, the circuit clerk should give the owners or those in possession written notice of such fact within five days[v].

If the owners or those in possession do not deliver possession of the property condemned within ten days after the receipt of notice of the payment of the award, then on the request of the condemnor, the court issues a writ of possession directing the sheriff to deliver the possession of such property to the condemnor forthwith.

In case property is to be or has been by any corporation damaged for public use, any person interested may have such damages ascertained.  The proceedings for ascertaining and paying such damages is the same as are and may be provided by law for assessing damages which owners of land may sustain in consequence of its appropriation for railroad purposes[vi].

[i] § 523.020 R.S.Mo.

[ii] § 523.039 R.S.Mo.

[iii] § 523.040 R.S.Mo.

[iv] § 523.050 R.S.Mo.

[v] § 523.055 R.S.Mo.

[vi] § 523.090 R.S.Mo.

Inside Missouri Eminent Domain Laws