Lake County is located in the northeastern corner of Illinois, along Lake Michigan. It is one of the largest counties by population in Illinois. The Nineteenth Judicial Circuit encompasses all of Lake County, and the circuit court is located in Waukegan. Lake County is immediately north of Cook County and is one of the collar counties of the Chicago metropolitan area.
When the State of Illinois or any government agency files a lawsuit to condemn private property through the power of eminent domain, the government must file the lawsuit in the county in which the property sought to be acquired is physically located. The government is the plaintiff in the lawsuit. Any person with an interest in the condemned property will be made a party to the condemnation proceeding as a defendant.
Article 1 Section 15 of the Illinois Constitution states: “private property shall not be taken or damaged for public use without just compensation as provided by law. Such compensation shall be determined by a jury as provided by law.”
In Illinois, before any government body seeks to condemn private property through the power of eminent domain, it must first present the owner with a written offer of just compensation for the property it seeks to acquire. Any owner faced with a potential condemnation by eminent domain should meet with an experienced eminent domain attorney in Lake County, especially if the owner is not sure if the compensation offered is a fair price.
Lake County Eminent Domain Attorney
When the government files an eminent domain case to acquire private property, two issues must be analyzed by the eminent domain attorney representing the property owner: (1) does the government have the right to take the property through eminent domain; and (2) what amount of just compensation is the property owner entitled to under the law.
The first issue regarding whether the government has the right to take the property can be challenged through the filing a “Traverse” in the condemnation case. Generally, in Illinois there are five basic requirements for exercising the power of eminent domain. First, the condemning authority must have the legal authority to use the power of eminent domain. Second, the use of eminent domain must be for a public purpose. Third, the condemnation of private property must be “necessary” for the public purpose. Fourth, the condemning authority must adequately describe the private property it seeks to acquire. Finally, the condemning authority must attempt to agree on the amount of compensation for the property prior to initiating any court proceedings to take the property by eminent domain. An experienced Lake County eminent domain attorney at Ryan & Ryan can help you investigate and challenge the government’s right to use eminent domain.
The Ryan & Ryan team of attorneys have been representing property owners since 1975. This experience allows the attorneys at Ryan & Ryan to quickly determine whether the government’s offer of just compensation is low. The valuation of property in an eminent domain proceeding in Illinois requires an attorney with specialized knowledge of eminent domain law. If an attorney does not have the requisite expertise, a property owner could potentially leave thousands and even millions of dollars on the table. The attorneys at Ryan & Ryan have experience with partial takings (both temporary and permanent) and full takings involving the valuation of all types of property including: agricultural, residential, commercial retail, industrial, office, and special use properties. The attorneys at Ryan & Ryan have handled eminent domain cases at the trial, appellate and Illinois Supreme Court level.
At Ryan & Ryan we handle eminent domain cases all over the state of Illinois, including these major cities and villages in Lake County:
- Lake Forest
- Highland Park
- Long Grove
- Hawthorne Woods
- Lake Zurich
Get in touch with us today so we can schedule an appointment and talk about how we can keep your property safe and protected.