Condemnation and Eminent Domain

Georgia Eminent Domain And Condemnation Law: What is legal isn't always right.

Condemnation is the process of taking private property through the power of eminent domain. Eminent domain is the legal right states, localities and the federal government have to condemn and force the sale of private property. Although an individual's rights are subordinated to the government, the owner is entitled to receive just compensation for his or her property when it's taken by the government.

The attorneys at Power ▪ Jaugstetter will defend your rights as a property owner in eminent domain actions. We work to make things right by maximizing the result most advantageous for our client. Sometimes that means maximizing your monetary recovery; sometimes it means trying to stop the government's taking of your property; or sometimes it just means working it out. Either way, we will work to maximize the outcome for you to make it right.

In representing property owners as well as a variety of governmental agencies, we have gained a unique and in-depth perspective on how to litigate eminent domain matters on behalf of both property owners as well as the government. We will use this perspective to benefit you in your eminent domain case.

We have handled numerous condemnation cases on behalf of property owners against various local governments, county authorities, the United States of America and the U. S. Airforce.


Our experience representing property owners against the government includes:

Federal Aviation Easement Cases

  • Representing five property owners against the United States of America and the US Air Force obtaining settlement offers from the United States during court-ordered mediation ranging from a 700% increase over the pay-in up to over 16,000% increase over the pay-in.

Subsurface Easement Cases

  • Handling numerous sanitary sewer easement cases for property owners obtaining 179% to 1,217% increases in compensation for the property owners over the amount of money initially offered by the government.

Municipal Cases

  • Representing two (2) homeowners whose properties were taken by the City of Riverdale, obtaining 150% and 202% increases in compensation, respectively, for the property owners over the amount of money initially offered by the City.
  • Representing the owners of property against the City of McDonough in a sewer treatment plant expansion, obtaining a 213% increase in compensation for the property owners over the initial amount of money offered by the City of McDonough.
  • Representing three owners against the City of Stockbridge for the urban redevelopment of downtown Stockbridge, obtaining increased awards of compensation from 102%, 123%, and 160%, respectively, for the property owners over the amounts of money initially offered by the government.


County Cases

  • Representing numerous property owners against Clayton and Henry Counties, obtaining a 207% to 761% increases for the property owners over the amounts of money initially offered by these governments.


Power Lines

  • Representing two property owners in Henry County involving a 230KV Transmission line expansion, obtaining a 154% and 696% increase, respectively in compensation for the property owners over the initial money offered by Georgia Transmission Corporation.
  • Additionally, we have represented various governmental entities. Our governmental experience includes:
  • Being appointed Special Assistant Attorney Generals under Attorneys General Michael Bowers, Thurbert Baker and Samuel S. Olens for eminent domain and other real estate acquisition purposes.
  • Acquiring over 1000 parcels of property for the State of Georgia as a Special Assistant Attorney Generals.
  • Handling over 100 condemnation cases for the State of Georgia as a Special Assistant Attorney Generals.
  • Serving as outside eminent domain counsel to the City of Atlanta by assisting in the acquisition of subsurface right of way for the City, DeKalb and Fulton Counties to construct the Nancy Creek Sewer tunnel. This project extended more than 8.25 miles and affected approximately 300 property owners.
  • Closing a Six Million Dollar acquisition by the Georgia Regional Transit Authority in Clayton County, Georgia.
  • Closing 25 acres in Henry County, Georgia for the Technical College System of Georgia's expansion of Griffin Tech. as part of an Eight Million Dollar expansion project.

This practice area is led by Warren R. Power. For any questions or additional information about our condemnation practice, please call Warren at (770) 957-1765 ext. 302 or email him at wpower@pjf-lawfirm.com.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The Government wants your property . . . Now What?

What can I expect?
You may be contacted by letter, phone or in person by a representative of the government. The purpose of the initial contact is to inform you of the project and to tell you that your property is needed.

What rights do I have?
You have the right to be justly and adequately compensated for your property rights taken, including any consequential damages to your remaining property. This includes payment for loss of business if you have any. The Courts in Georgia have defined just and adequate compensation to be the actual value of your loss. This phrase, however, is complicated and you need an attorney who has a complete and full understanding of the applicable rules of compensation to insure that it's made right for you.

Am I entitled to anything? If you are an owner, tenant, business owner, even a franchisee, the answer is "more than likely." If you have property that is condemned, the government is constitutionally required to pay you just compensation.

For example, maybe you're an owner or even a tenant of property being taken. Your right to compensation could be affected by your mortgage or your lease. We can help you figure out those issues and advise you on how you can proceed.

Maybe you're an owner of a business being taken. You could be entitled to compensation for the loss of your business. We are experienced in advising clients with these types of cases.

How long does this process take?
There is no "normal" lengthy of time for a condemnation matter. However, there are very strict time limits for various actions to be taken by you to protect your rights to just and adequate compensation. Therefore, as soon as you learn that your property is needed for a project, you should contact an attorney who has a complete knowledge of the applicable rules in a condemnation case.

What is involved in a condemnation?
The government takes some or all of your property. This may be a fee taking or an easement taking. It might even involve your business if it's located on the real estate needed for the project. As soon as you are contacted by the government regarding the "purchase" of your property, you should ask for copies of all plans pertaining to your property so that you can take them to a knowledgeable attorney to decipher how the project will impact your property.

How much do I have to pay my lawyer?

Our consultations are free so we can help you evaluate your case against the government. If you decide to retain us, our fees are normally contingent on the additional amount of compensation that we are able to obtain for you. You don't pay us until the government writes a check.

How do you know that the government is telling you everything you need to know?

You don't! We know, because we recently requested information regarding various Henry County road projects. The response that we received from the County stated, in part, that it was EXEMPT from the law requiring governments to PUBLICLY disclose information. Click here to see the County's response. This may be legal, but it isn't right. We will not let Henry County hide behind the law when it comes to protecting your rights.