Houston Eminent Domain Attorney
The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 17 of the Texas Constitution protect you from a number of unlawful practices, such as a conviction without due process, facing charges for the same crime, and the taking of property for a public use without just compensation. However, the government can take your property if they provide just compensation, thanks to the concept of eminent domain. Because Texas is a growing state for infrastructure development, many landowners face property takings from the government—and the compensation they receive is not always just.
If the government is using eminent domain to take your property, you need a lawyer who can evaluate your claim and fight for your best interests. The attorneys at Marrs Ellis & Hodge LLP can protect your rights.
Why Choose Us
- Our attorneys will not hesitate to move your case to trial if necessary. Our top priority is ensuring you obtain your highest recovery as just compensation, and we will not accept an inadequate offer.
- For the past 10 years, our firm has represented hundreds of Texas landowners in eminent domain claims. We have worked with individuals, businesses, corporations, estates, and more.
- Our lawyers have a strong understanding of eminent domain law, and have the skills and experience necessary to craft a compelling claim for the highest possible compensation you are entitled to.
Examples of Eminent Domain in Texas
Since Texas is a state rich in natural resources and open land, the government and public utility companies have paid landowners to take their property. According to the United States Constitution, and Texas Constitution, these condemning authorities can only take land if they provide just compensation, and according to Texas Property Code Chapter 21, the use of the land must benefit the public good.
This means that the government and utility companies can only pay you for your property if they intend to use the land to develop some sort of public infrastructure. Common examples of this infrastructure include the following:
- Gas, oil, and water pipelines
- Power and electrical transmission systems for coal, natural gas, or nuclear power
- Government buildings, like courts or libraries
- Schools and public parks
- Military bases
- Public transportation, such as airports or train stations
- Highways, roads, and streets
The government cannot take your land for private purposes. If you believe that the intent behind the project may not qualify under eminent domain, speak to your lawyer. Although these situations are not common, you may be able to fight the taking.
Can You Fight Eminent Domain?
You should always counter an offer you believe is unacceptable. Remember, it is not in the government entity’s best interest to award the maximum settlement—the government has to protect its bottom line, after all. The first offer you receive may be much lower than your property’s actual worth, and under the Constitution, you have the right to just compensation.
You can negotiate the initial offer, or you can reject it outright. If negotiations are not successful or you reject the offer, the entity will file a condemnation lawsuit where three Special Commissioners will determine the value of your land. Different pathways work best for different claims; always speak to your attorney before making any decisions regarding your offer.
Do You Need a Houston Eminent Domain Attorney?
The government cannot take property from Houston landowners unless they provide just compensation. Any other actions are a violation of your constitutional rights. If you need assistance handling your eminent-domain claim, the lawyers at Marrs Ellis & Hodge LLP can help. With over 15 years of high-stakes property litigation experience and knowledge of Texas eminent domain laws, we have the resources and power to fight for your best interests.
Contact us today to speak with one of our Houston eminent domain lawyers.