Few issues evoke such strong opposition as the taking of private land through eminent domain for a public use. When it comes to eminent domain, the government is playing in their arena; they do this every day. They know what the rules are, they know how the rules affect them and they know how the rules affect property owners. If the government is taking your land, make sure that you become informed so that you know what you can and cannot do.
Your initial question might be, can I stop the process? In most cases, you won’t be able to prevent the government from acquiring your land, but you are entitled to just compensation under eminent domain law. Learn more about eminent domain generally and what you’re entitled to receive, or continue reading through our tabs and pages to learn about the Wyoming eminent domain process, your rights as a property owner and hiring a Wyoming eminent domain attorney.
Biersdorf & Associates is a nationwide eminent domain law firm with experience handling cases in Wyoming and elsewhere around the country. We only represent property owners, never the condemning authority or government.
Did you know that in Wyoming your attorney’s fees are paid for by the government if the statutory threshold is met? Even small claimants might be able to hire an attorney to help them pursue just compensation. Continue browsing the tabs and additional pages for more information.
In the state of Wyoming, the eminent domain process can only be stopped if the proposed taking does not meet the requirements for public purpose or public necessity. If you have determined that the proposed taking does meet these requirements, then you should learn more about the Wyoming eminent domain process.
Remember, even if the government has the right to condemn your property, they cannot dictate the price they are willing to pay; compensation is determined by the highest and best use laws for your property. The following page contains detailed legal information and a flow chart on the Wyoming eminent domain process.
Learn more about the Wyoming Eminent Domain Process
The eminent domain abuse dialogue often centers on policy issues involving the right to take property for economic development and blight. Since the landmark case of Kelo v. City of New London in 2005, many states have taken measures to help curb eminent domain abuse. Some states were very successful at passing meaningful reform, and other states failed to pass any legislation at all. Most states fall in the middle by passing legislation that looks good on paper but does little to level the playing field between property owners and the government.
The Castle Coalition, a nationwide grassroots property activism project by the Institute for Justice, released a comprehensive report in 2006 that graded each state based on eminent domain legislative changes which expand and protect property rights.
Did you know that the Castle Coalition gave Wyoming a B when it comes to property owners’ protection against eminent domain?
Learn more about Wyoming Property Rights
The most blatant form of eminent domain abuse occurs when the government or condemning authority makes a ‘low ball’ offer. This scenario invariably requires the property owner to hire an attorney to obtain just compensation. Fortunately, the vast majority of eminent domain attorneys work on a contingent fee basis, meaning they charge a percentage of the additional money they obtain for the property owner. Also, Wyoming has passed legislation requiring the condemning authority to pay the property owner’s attorneys fees and costs in eminent domain cases if certain criteria are met.
Pursuant to Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 1-26-509, if a court or jury finds that the fair market value of the property sought by the condemnor is more than one hundred fifteen percent (115%) of the final offer, the condemnor shall reimburse the condemnee for all reasonable litigation expenses incurred after the condemnee’s receipt of the final offer.
Also, if the final judgment is that the property cannot be acquired through eminent domain, or if the proceeding is abandoned by the condemning authority, then reasonable fees may be awarded (Wyoming § 16-7-116). Additionally, if the property owner prevails in an inverse condemnation case, the court may award reasonable fees to the property owner (Wyoming § 16-7-117). Because of the protections provided by these statutes, even small claimants in Wyoming may be able to hire an attorney to pursue their claim.
Very few attorneys can claim expertise in the area of eminent domain law. To determine if you have a case, make sure you consult with an eminent domain trial attorney who can effectively identify damages and select the necessary experts. Your attorney should also be able to interface with the condemning authority and be willing to take your case to trial if negotiations can not be reached. Contact us for a free case evaluation.