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Nebraska Eminent Domain Laws

Nebraska Eminent Domain Laws can be found in Chapter 76 Article Seven of Nebraska Revised Statutes.  R.R.S. Neb. § 76-725 provides that the state of Nebraska may acquire, by eminent domain, lands necessary for any state use.  The procedure to condemn property should be exercised in the manner set forth in sections 76 Article seven.

Pursuant to R.R.S. Neb. § 76-702, after negotiations have failed, any condemner, or his/her  representative, upon proper identification and after informing the condemnee of the contemplated action is authorized to enter upon any land for the purpose of examining and surveying it in contemplation of bringing or during the pendency of condemnation proceedings.

If any condemnee fails to agree with the condemner with respect to the acquisition of property sought by the condemner, a petition to condemn the property may be filed by the condemner in the county court of the county where the property or some part thereof is situated[i].

Similarly, if any condemner has taken or damaged property for public use without instituting condemnation proceedings, the condemnee, in addition to any other available remedy, may file a petition with the county judge of the county where the property or some part thereof is situated to have the damages ascertained and determined[ii].

R.R.S. Neb. § 76-710 provides that after completion of  inspection, view, and hearing, the appraisers should assess the damages that the condemnee has sustained or will sustain by the appropriation of the property to the use of the condemner and make and file a report thereof in writing with the court.  In assessing such damages in cases in which the appropriation consists of taking an easement, the assessment of damages should  include damages for fences and crops destroyed or damaged by reason of the original construction of the improvement.

Where any condemner has taken or attempts to take property for public use, the damages for taking such property should be determined according to the laws of Nebraska.  This is irrespective of whether the condemner may be reimbursed for a part of such damage from the federal government.  Further, such damages include all compensable damages suffered by the condemnee but not limited to reasonable severance damages and condemnee’s abstracting expenses[iii].

In determining the amount of severance damages, account should be taken, together with other relevant factors, of the economic effect, if any, caused by the severance therefrom of the part taken or sought to be taken upon the whole of such property as a going concern as it will be and remain after the severance.

Any decrease or increase in the fair market value of real property prior to the date of valuation caused by the public improvement for which such property is acquired, or by the likelihood that the property would be acquired for such improvement, other than due to physical deterioration within the reasonable control of the owner, shall be disregarded in determining the compensation for the property.

Either condemner or condemnee may appeal from the assessment of damages by the appraisers to the district court of the county where the petition to initiate proceedings was filed.  Such appeal should be taken by filing a notice of appeal with the county judge within thirty days from the date of filing of the report of appraisers[iv].

Assessments made for property taken and damaged by the same condemner upon and through different property belonging to the same condemnee or condemnees may be joined in one appeal, and they may proceed in the appellate court as separate counts joined in one action for damages to such property[v].

[i] R.R.S. Neb. § 76-704.

[ii] R.R.S. Neb. § 76-705.

[iii] R.R.S. Neb. § 76-710.01.

[iv] R.R.S. Neb. § 76-715.

[v] R.R.S. Neb. § 76-721.

Inside Nebraska Eminent Domain Laws