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Texan fights eminent domain in high-speed rail construction

On Behalf of | Dec 30, 2020 | eminent domain

When large-scale projects are planned and underway in Texas, it is not uncommon for the state to use the law of eminent domain to seize property it deems essential to its completion. However, land owners may not agree with various aspects of the case and choose to fight it in court. As independent-minded as many Texans are, interference from the government and infringement on what the person feels is his or her property can result in a major dispute. While eminent domain allows for property to be seized, there could be options to fight the case.

High-speed rail case may head to SCOTX

A man who owns land directly in the path where a rail project is planned is moving forward with a filing to have the case heard by the Supreme Court of Texas (SCOTX). The case began in 2017 and a lower court ruled in favor of the Texas Central Railroad. The proposed path of the high-speed rail will go right through the man’s property. According to him, Texas Central Railroad cannot use eminent domain to survey his land.

The man says that the company is not an operating railroad since no tickets have been sold, there is no rail and passengers have not been transported. The lower court said that eminent domain does apply since it is technically operating a railroad. No decision is expected until next summer.

Eminent domain can be challenged

Although the law for eminent domain states that those who are impacted by it will be compensated fairly for their land, that does not mean that a person who is facing this challenge will want to accept it. From the point of view of the company that is pursuing eminent domain to help it complete a project, there are also legal justifications for its position. Still, it is important to remember that the government or other entities cannot just take the person’s land without cause. When trying to dispute an eminent domain case, there are critical factors that must be considered including the purpose of the land use and if there are alternatives available.

Legal help can be imperative in an eminent domain case

This case is heading to the Supreme Court of Texas as the property owner does not want to surrender his land. When a person is confronted with a similar situation and would like to fight it, it is important to have legal assistance from the start. Calling a firm that is experienced with eminent domain cases, understands how they are handled and knows what steps can be taken to dispute it is a vital part of a successful outcome.