Arkansas Legislature Adopts Legislation to Allow Attorneys' Fees when Highway Commission Takes Property by Eminent Domain

March 26, 2013

Today, there was a significant change in Arkansas eminent domain law when it comes to condemnations by the Arkansas State Highway Commission. House Bill 1282 (now known as Act 502) sought to allow land owners to recover attorneys' fees, costs, and expenses if the landowner recovered more than ten percent (10%) above the Highway Commission's deposit in a condemnation case at trial. The lead sponsors on the Bill were Rep. John Edwards (D) of Little Rock and Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson (R) of Benton.

With this legislation, the Arkansas General Assembly sought "to protect the property rights of the people of the State of Arkansas in eminent domain proceedings initiated by the State Highway Commission because, as stated in Article 2, § 27 22 of the Arkansas Constitution, the right of property in Arkansas is before and higher than any constitutional sanction and should not be taken without just compensation."

Additionally the General Assembly stated that when the "Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department fails to offer the fair market value for condemned  property that costs, expenses, and reasonable attorney's fees should be awarded to the land owner to justly compensate the people of the State of Arkansas."

The Arkansas Eminent Domain Law Firm of Moffitt & Phillips believes this legislation is a step in the right direction for the protection of landowners subject to eminent domain takings. Now, if land owners are not provided "just compensation" on the front end of an eminent domain taking by the Arkansas State Highway Commission, they will have the opportunity to be reimbursed for all of their fees, costs, and expenses in protecting their constitutional rights.

"The next move is to expand this protection to every landowner facing a taking of private property by eminent domain and condemnation in Arkansas," said Arkansas Condemnation Lawyer, Brandon Moffitt. He went on to say "there is no rational basis why one entity should be liable for fees, costs, and expenses when they abuse the power of eminent domain and another entity should not." In light of the new legislation, only the Arkansas State Highway Commission and eminent domain takings for water projects are subject to an award of fees, costs, and expenses.

You can read the new legislation by clicking the link below:

Legislation to Allow Attorneys' Fees, Costs, and Expenses when Highway Commission Takes Property by Eminent Domain

If you are a landowner facing a taking by eminent domain or condemenation, give Moffitt & Phillips a call today. We are here to help obtain the just compensation you deserve.

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