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Illinois Eminent Domain Lawyer

As you are likely aware, taking matters into your own hands when it comes to eminent domain is highly discouraged, and could result in a scenario where you do not receive just compensation. For instance, you could end up ruining a good claim by attempting to negotiate with the condemning authority prior to consulting with an eminent domain attorney, or you might settle for much less than what you deserve. Please read Why Act Now in our Resource Center to learn more about why you should hire an eminent domain attorney early in the process.

Did you know that in the state of Illinois, attorney’s fees may be paid for and costs might be reimbursed to the property owner? Continue reading to learn more about this statute.

Attorney Fee Recovery Statutes in Illinois

  • Attorney’s fees may be recoverable in Illinois if:
  • The property owner is successful with an inverse condemnation case (735 ILCS 30/10-5-65)
  • The condemning authority dismisses the action (735 ILCS 30/10-5-70)
  • The court determines that the condemning authority cannot acquire the property in question through eminent domain (735 ILCS 30/10-5-70)
  • The condemning authority does not pay the property owner within amount of time specified by court (735 ILCS 30/10-5-70)
  • The condemning authority does not accept the offer of settlement from the property owner in a private interests condemnation action and the final compensation awarded for the property owner is equal to or greater than the property owner’s last written offer (735 ILCS § 10-5-115).

There are specific types of cases that fall under the last bullet point above.  Cases that generally fall into this category include:

1. Acquisition for private ownership for a public use.  Takings under this category usually relate to land use for parking lots used predominately for airports, mass transit facilities, passenger rail, private property that operates a water supply or recycling plant, ect.
2. Acquisition for private ownership for the elimination of blight.
3. Acquisition for public ownership with private control.  Takings under this category usually relate to land use for universities, hospitals, mass transit facilities, airports, ect.

If a property owner’s case falls under the category of acquisition for private ownership or control (last bullet point), then at the court’s discretion, attorney’s fees are awarded based on net benefits and non-monetary benefits obtained for the property owner as identified by the court. Net benefits refer to the difference between the final judgment and the last written offer made by the condemning authority before the filing date of the condemnation complaint.

The court may also consider non-monetary benefits obtained through the efforts of the attorney, if they are quantifiable by the court with a reasonable degree of certainty. If awarded, the calculations shall be made according to these percentages, as subject to the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (735 ILCS 30/10-5-110(f)):
(1) 33% of the net benefit if the net benefit is $250,000 or less;
(2) 25% of the net benefit if the net benefit is more than $250,000 but less than $1 million; Or
(3) 20% of the net benefit if the net benefit is $1 million or more

If you have questions regarding hiring an eminent domain attorney in Illinois or questions regarding fees and costs, please contact us.

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