Dan Biersdorf, a Minneapolis-based attorney who specializes in representing property owners in eminent domain cases nationwide, has tips for those preparing to go up against a government trying to take their property.
1. Be sure you are getting the proper amount of money for what the government is taking. In some cases, the government will make a fair offer, but research is required.
2. Know the impacts the taking will have on the property you still have. That is called the remainder. It is why people like Biersdorf get hired. “Our mission is to represent property owners and be a resource and help them understand their rights.”
3. Resources. Who can you look to that can help you determine what kind of a case you have? Identify an expert. Find the person looking out for your best interest. Find someone who represents property owners. Identify and talk to an attorney that understands eminent domain law and the property owner perspective.
4. Can a property owner get attorney costs and fees reimbursed if they must pursue a claim? Many states allow property owners to recover the cost of attorney fees if they win the case. That can make a huge difference on whether it makes sense to go forward with a case.
5. Every case must have an appraiser. That is a burden your attorney can take on for you. “We understand and know appraisers who can help,” Biersdorf said.