Can You Recover Attorney's Fees if You Resist Condemnation?
UPDATED: February 9, 2020
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If you resist the condemnation of your property as part of an eminent domain lawsuit or legal action against you, most states will allow you to recover some or all of your attorney's fees as long as they were determined to be reasonable and you won your case. This means you can generally recover the fees only if you have successfully resisted condemnation either by proving the taking of your building was not necessary, or by proving that the initial offer of fair market value provided to you was insufficient or unfair to serve as just compensation. If you resist condemnation and you are unsuccessful, the law does not require the state or the condemning authority to assist you in any way with your attorney's fees.
In most cases, because the taking of a building by eminent domain is considered to be for the public good, it can be very difficult to successfully resist a condemnation action. If you believe that the offer you were given for your property was unfair, you can fight it in court, but you will need to have substantial evidence to prove that it was unfair. Typically, this evidence must include reports from appraisers that prove that the property, when considered for its best use, would be worth more than you were offered.
If your assertion is upheld by the court, you are entitled to compensation at the fair market value as determined by the court judgment, and you are entitled to any reasonable and fair attorney's fees in fighting for this judgment. Whether the fees are considered to be reasonable will be assessed based on the time the attorney spent on the action and the hourly rate charged by other attorneys in your area.
Any further questions regarding an attorney's fees in a condemnation action should be directed to an attorney.