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Home / Practice Areas / Eminent Domain

Experienced Chicago Eminent Domain Attorneys Protect Property Rights

Challenging condemnation proceedings and fighting for fair compensation

Eminent domain gives government the power to take private property for public use in exchange for fair compensation. However, if the government has decided to seize your property, you should know that you have rights in the matter. Rieff Schramm Kanter & Guttman LLC often represents landlords in eminent domain disputes that arise when the government uses its condemnation power improperly or fails to offer sufficient compensation. Our attorneys have more than 140 years of combined experience protecting clients’ rights during all stages of eminent domain proceedings.

Challenging public use under new legal standards

Public use has traditionally referred to the development of condemned property for streets, airports, dams, reservoirs, schools, hospitals, parks and other projects designed to benefit the community directly. Private companies might also gain easements through eminent domain to perform necessary functions, such as laying and maintaining gas, water, telephone or power lines, which serve the public good.

However, in Kelo v New London, a landmark 2005 case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a government taking is permissible if it serves a public purpose, such as increasing potential tax revenues by revitalizing an economically depressed area. This highly controversial decision resulted in the transfer of property from private citizens to a for-profit corporation.

Property owners seeking to defend against eminent domain proceedings now face a new, less-restrictive legal standard. This makes your choice of legal representation even more important. Our attorneys have the experience necessary to challenge government takings even after Kelo.

Fighting fair market value in eminent domain proceedings

If the government has a valid public use for land it condemns, the landowner must make the best bargain possible. The government will appraise your tract’s value and present its offer. However, the government appraisers do not have the final say about the value of your property.

As your legal advocates, we are committed to defending your constitutional right to full, fair compensation. We seek alternative appraisals based on detailed market research to dispute the government’s assessment. We introduce evidence of factors the appraiser may not have considered, such as business goodwill, severance damages, pre-condemnation damages, and relocation expenses, which must be considered if you are to be fully compensated.

Contact a reputable Chicago law firm for eminent domain defense

Rieff Schramm Kanter & Guttman LLC provides tenacious representation for property owners threatened with eminent domain takings. To schedule an appointment, call 331-310-0855 or contact our Chicago office online for a free consultation.