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Eminent Domain Takings by Private Condemnors Under North Carolina Law

The right to exercise eminent domain authority and take private property for public use is not limited to state and local governments. Chapter 40A of the North Carolina General Statutes permits certain private condemnors to take private property when necessary for the construction of railroads, telephone lines, electric power lines, electric lights, public sewerage systems, and other assorted public works.

Private condemnors may condemn all of your property or just take an easement. Either way, you are entitled to fair compensation as provided for by Chapter 40A. Regardless of whether a complete or partial taking is involved, the Raleigh condemnation attorneys of Maginnis Law can help. Our litigation lawyers will advocate for your rights when the condemnor has undervalued your land. For a free consultation, call our Raleigh office at 919.480.8526. You may also submit a confidential email inquiry using our contact page.

Unless an agreement is reached between the condemnor and the private property owner as to the value of the taking, the condemnor must initiate proceedings in the county where the real property is located. This is done by filing a petition for the appointment of three commissioners of appraisal by the Clerk of Superior Court. The condemnor must then serve a copy of the petition, as well as a summons, upon anyone whose interests are affected by the taking. Any interested party may then file an answer within 10 days of service of the summons and petition. It is not necessary to file an answer if the sole issue is the value of the taking.

When the matter is ultimately heard by the commissioners of appraisal, the property owner will be entitled to present evidence as to the value of the land taken. This evidence may consist of testimony by experts such as engineers and certified land appraisers, as well as, the property owner him or herself. A knowledgeable condemnation attorney can help identify these experts, prepare them for the hearing, and introduce their testimony.

After hearing the land owner and condemnor’s evidence, the commissioner of appraisal will decide the amount of compensation for the property condemned. Either party may file “exceptions” with the Clerk of Court and later appeal to the Superior Court for a trial de novo. This means that if you’re not happy with the commissioners’ appraisal, you can appeal your case to the Superior Court and have damages decided by a jury.

The Raleigh eminent domain attorneys of Maginnis Law handle most condemnation matters on a contingency basis. Our fee is typically one-third of any amount we recover for you beyond the condemnor’s last offer prior to our involvement. You pay no attorneys’ fees on the amount that has already been offered to you.

To schedule a free consultation, call one of civil attorneys at 919.480.8526 or use our contact page. We regularly represent clients in civil disputes in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary, Wake Forest, Apex, Morrisville, Clayton, and the surrounding Triangle Area, including all of Wake County, Durham County, Orange County, Johnston County, Alamance County, Chatham County, and Wilson County.