Tuesday, September 9, 2014, 5:58 PM

New Eminent Domain Law May Require Business-Litigation Approach To Condemnation Cases

Authored by: Jason Hicks
The Charlottesville paper recently ran an interesting story about how local road improvement projects will test the limits and scope of the Commonwealth's new eminent domain law.  The new laws are comprised of reforms passed in 2007 and a constitutional amendment passed in 2012.  State Senator Mark Obenshain is quoted as saying: "Property owners seeking remedies under the new legislation may petition the state for up to three years' worth of future profits" which could be based on lost profits.  Previously Virginia's condemnation proceedings measured damage by means of real estate valuations, rather than allowing for recovery of lost profits.  This change in the law may turn condemnation cases into something that more resembles business litigation, with competing economic experts analyzing claims for lost profits.  Property owners seeking to challenge eminent domain takings under the new statute may want to reassess how they negotiate with the Commonwealth and what kind of evidence, witnesses and attorneys they need to prove their case.

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