Eminent Domain

Murray Law’s primary focus is representing landowners against the government and utility companies in eminent domain and land condemnation proceedings. It has been eminent domain lawyer David Murray’s primary focus since law school, and he has not wavered in his dedication to representing landowners like you. Since beginning his career in 2008, David has represented landowners exclusively (never the government) and obtained millions of dollars in increased compensation for clients over the initial offers made by condemning authorities (often called condemnors).

“Hold Out, Hire Us.”

If a local government, City of Charlotte, North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), Piedmont Natural Gas Company (PNG) or other condemning authority reaches out to you, Murray Law, the Law Firm for Landowners, is here to assist you.

When condemning authorities take your property for public uses like road widenings, light rail or pipelines, you are legally entitled to receive just compensation for the property rights taken from you. Just compensation is determined by the difference between the fair market value of your entire property immediately before the taking and the fair market value of your property remaining immediately after the taking.

There are many issues that may arise in an eminent domain matter, such as determining fair market value, obtaining relocation or replacement housing benefits, managing daily aspects of construction, and retaining the proper experts to maximize the recovery for a landowner. You need an eminent domain law firm that has always represented landowners against the government.

The process of dealing with a condemning authority can be intimidating; however, the project cannot begin on your property until the condemnor has the right to enter the property. That right can only be obtained with your consent or through a condemnation lawsuit being filed by the condemnor.

The condemnation process typically begins with initial contact from the condemning authority’s acquisition agent who has one goal: to get you to sign off and accept the lowest amount of money possible for the taking of your property. It is after this initial contact that landowners like you typically contact and retain Murray Law to represent them through the next stages of the progress.

Next, the acquisition agent orders an appraisal. This appraiser is hired by the condemnor that is taking the property to establish an initial offer to be made to you. (Sometimes, the condemnor foregoes an appraisal and just uses tax value or a “value finding” to make the initial offer. In such cases, you should never trust that offer because it will almost certainly be below value.) Typically, we can meet with you and the condemnor’s appraiser at your property to ensure that the proper information is provided to the appraiser regarding your concerns and potential damages. This initial work by Murray Law does not cost you anything since we handle condemnation cases on contingency fee agreements, meaning we only are paid on the amounts obtained over the initial offer which is set by the appraisal.

Then, once the initial offer is provided to you, you can either: (1) attempt to negotiate for an increase or (2) wait for the condemnor to file a lawsuit to take your property and then prepare your case. Murray Law typically advises clients to await the filing of the lawsuit because the acquisition agents hired by the condemnors do not have enough authority to provide the type of offers that landowners deserve to be paid. Further, it is often necessary to see the results of the construction on the property before deciding if the amount offered is sufficient.

Finally, assuming no resolution is reached on the initial offer, the condemnor files the lawsuit to take the land it needs for the public project (the litigation stage). Fortunately, under North Carolina law, the condemnor must pay into court the initial offer amount (the “deposit”). This deposit can then be obtained by the landowner’s attorney to “hold over” the landowner until a final settlement or verdict of compensation is obtained. Do not let the threat of a lawsuit deter you from asking for more compensation. Murray Law has years of experience litigating eminent domain and land condemnation cases for landowners, which is typically the pathway for the highest offers to be made to resolve the claim for just compensation. This is why we encourage landowners to “Hold Out, Hire Us.”

Contact the Eminent Domain Lawyer at Murray Law Firm, PLLC

If you are facing an eminent domain and land condemnation action affecting your land in North Carolina, contact us at Murray Law’s Charlotte office or call us at (704) 940-9095 to schedule a consultation with our eminent domain attorney to discuss your case.