Eminent Domain/Condemnation

As the population of an area grows, so too does the need to build or expand roads, utilities and other improvements for homes and businesses. Our eminent domain attorneys represent property and business owners as well as condemnors such as government and special agencies.

Under the federal and state constitutions, privately-owned property can be acquired for a public use through the process of eminent domain without the property owner’s consent. The Constitution for the State of Utah states, “[p]rivate property shall not be taken or damaged for public use without just compensation.”

We represent property owners, developers and business owners throughout the condemnation process, including advising appraisers of special factors affecting your property, negotiating with condemning authorities regarding a proposed condemnation payment and, when necessary, filing suit to ensure fair market compensation is paid.

Utah has a unique legislative process for acquiring property through eminent domain that is different from anywhere else in the world. This process gives the property owners significant rights, yet very few Utahns in the last few years have taken advantage of these rights.  According to Lyle McMillan, Director, Right of Way and Property Acquisition at the Utah Department of Transportation, only four percent of condemned property owners requested the condemning authority pay for a second appraisal. This is just one right available to those who understand this area of the law.

While landowners are usually best served to cooperate with the condemning authority to minimize the effects of the taking, they should do so with full knowledge of the process and should seek expert legal advice early in the process. There are many advantages to having qualified legal representation.

We also represent condemnors such as municipal governments, drainage districts, sewerage districts and utility companies to obtain right of ways and easements for public projects such pipe lines and power lines, road expansion, sewer or drainage projects, and other public improvements. Our comprehensive knowledge of eminent domain laws and the legal process allow us to minimize litigation and keep projects moving along in a cost-efficient manner.

Due to the number of condemnation cases we handle, we have assembled a network of experts who work with us as a team to resolve eminent domain matters.

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