Tips for Dealing With Arkansas Pipeline Takings

November 10, 2014

Our office has been taking calls lately about several Arkansas pipeline takings going on across the State. Often people want to know if they have any options to stop the pipeline takings or how much money they should receive as a result of the easement across their property. Because each case has to be evaluated individually, it is impossible for our office to answer all of the questions here. The best option is to always consult an Arkansas eminent domain lawyer if you are faced with the acquisition of a pipeline easement across your property. An experienced pipeline easement attorney can advise you of your rights under Arkansas eminent domain law and can assist you with obtaining the proper valuation of your land subject to the taking.

With that said, here are a couple of tips to assist you if you are faced with an Arkansas pipeline taking:

1.      There Is No Need to Rush:

Acquisition agents may try to put pressure on landowners to make a decision about an easement by stating the need for the pipeline easement is urgent or that if you do not accept their offer they will file a lawsuit ("condemnation") to get the property. Although the project may be urgent, it is important for you, as the landowner, to take your time and be fully informed before agreeing to any pipeline easement language or compensation for the pipeline easement. Landowners must evaluate the pipeline easement language and fully understand what they are granting to the pipeline company. Additionally, landowners should evaluate if they have been paid just compensation as a result of the pipeline easement acquisition. Generally, there will be adequate time for a landowner to get the required information before the filing of a condemnation. However, if there is not, a condemnation is not necessarily a bad thing. In a condemnation, a pipeline company can only acquire the rights they are legally entitled to acquire. Additionally, the easement rights in a condemnation are generally narrower in scope than what pipeline companies attempt to negotiate for with landowners outside of a lawsuit. So take your time and never rush to a resolution in an Arkansas pipeline taking.

2.      Do Not Sign Any Agreements:

This tip is not limited to pipeline easement condemnations. It is vital for every landowner facing an eminent domain taking to have a qualified Arkansas eminent domain attorney review any proposed agreement before you sign. An experienced Arkansas eminent domain attorney can explain the provisions of the agreement so that the landowner can make informed decisions about the rights obtained under the easement as well as the amount of just compensation paid.

3.      Know the Value of the Easement Before You Agree:

Most landowners have an idea of the value of their property. However, most landowners do not know the value of their property or how the acquisition of a pipeline easement across their property will affect the value of their property. It is just something most landowners do not encounter every day. Under Arkansas law, pipeline companies have to pay you the full fee value of the property subject to the pipeline easement plus any damages resulting from the acquisition of the easement. If a landowner does not understand fully what that means, then they probably do not have enough information at their disposal to make an informed decision about what should be paid for the acquisition of a pipeline easement across their property. Our office would recommend that landowners faced with the acquisition of a pipeline easement consult a qualified Arkansas eminent domain lawyer and an appraiser with experience in eminent domain to assist with the valuation of property subject to a pipeline easement taking.

As always, if you have specific questions about your Arkansas eminent domain case, just give us a call.

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