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Is the condemning authority responsible for paying my attorneys’ fees and costs of an inverse condemnation lawsuit?

If it can be determined by a court that the condemning authority did in fact sufficiently occupy your property or substantially interfere with your protected property rights and you have taken legal action in a timely manner, you will have the right to have the condemning authority not only compensate you, but also pay your reasonably incurred litigation fees and costs.

Successful inverse condemnation claims usually involve a two step process.  The first step is proving in a timely manner to a judge that the condemning authority’ s actions constitute a “taking” of real estate or a substantial property right (e.g. an essential driveway connection) associated with your real estate. If you fail to prove this, then your inverse condemnation claim will have been unsuccessful and the condemning authority will not be responsible for your litigation fees and costs. However if you win the first step, the claim will proceed just as if the condemning authority had acknowledged its responsibility to pay you compensation and had initiated the eminent domain condemnation process, and you can recover your reasonably incurred fees and costs from the condemning authority.

Inverse condemnation claims are complex and present risks to the property owner. It is important to have an attorney who is experienced in eminent domain law evaluate your specific situation and advise you of your rights so that the determination to initiate an inverse condemnation claim is based on an informed decision. The lawyers of Fixel & Willis are qualified to provide such advice and will meet with you to discuss your situation at no charge.

Due to the risks associated with potentially losing at the first step of establishing a “taking” or liability, Fixel & Willis usually cannot offer to handle such inverse claims without charging for its services. However, if you decide to retain Fixel & Willis, it will work with you to try and reach a mutually acceptable fee agreement. Again, initial consultation for such matters will be at no charge to you.