With infrastructure upgrades and improvements likely to remain a legislative priority and a practical necessity for years to come, eminent domain proceedings will continue to emerge as a prominent issue that business owners will be forced to confront. Unavoidable conflicts of interest are often the result, as competing priorities of the private companies and government agencies that initiate these actions and the private property/business owners impacted by the proposed seizure come to a head.
A partial taking, the seizure of one segment of an existing property or business operation, is the most common form of eminent domain. Typically intended to widen roads or make critical infrastructure upgrades, such an action can have a significant (and often under appreciated) impact on the value of a piece of property and, subsequently, on the bottom line of a business. Calculating the potential business effect of a seizure requires accurate accounting of all the functional and financial implications, many of which may not be immediately obvious. From the perspective of CEOs and other C-level executives, that calculation is further complicated by the costs and complications of engaging in complex—and potentially very public—litigation.
Because of the unique challenges and significant liabilities that can arise from the seizure of even a small piece of property, CEOs and business owners need to understand what to do (and what not to do) in the event that they are faced with this increasingly common phenomenon.