Spragins, Barnett & Cobb, PLC
Call 731-300-1592

What business owners should know about eminent domain

When most people hear the term commercial litigation, their thoughts immediately turn to complex court cases concerning everything from contract disputes and shareholder disagreements to valuation issues and even antitrust violations.

While there is technically nothing inaccurate about any of these depictions of commercial litigation, it's important to understand that it's a fairly nebulous term, meaning that it can actually center around other legal issues that people might not otherwise associate with the business world, including eminent domain.

In recognition of this reality, today's post, the first in a series, will spend some time discussing this complex -- and frequently controversial -- topic.

What exactly is eminent domain?

At its core, eminent domain essentially refers to the inherent power of the state or federal government to take ownership and possession of private land for public use provided the property owner is paid just compensation for the seizure.

Does Tennessee set forth any limitations on what constitutes "public use?"

In response to the landmark decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in Kelo v. City of New London, the state legislature passed a law expressly dictating that public use, as it relates to eminent domain, precludes the following: "private use or benefit, or the indirect public benefits resulting from private economic development and private commercial enterprise, including increased tax revenue and increased employment opportunity."

What then is considered to be for "public use?"  

Tennessee law has set forth a rather limited definition of what constitutes public use, providing that it's only permissible under the following circumstances:

  • When the land is acquired for transportation projects
  • When the land is acquired to facilitate the functioning of a utility
  • When the land is acquired by a housing authority/community development agency for redevelopment of blighted areas
  • When the land is acquired for an industrial park
  • When the land is acquired for private use that's merely incidental to a public use, provided no land is condemned or taken for the primary purpose of conveying or permitting the incidental private use

We'll continue this discussion in future posts …

If you have any manner of legal question or concern as it relates to your business, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional who can provide answers and pursue solutions.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you resolve your legal situation.

To discuss your specific situation and to learn more about how we can help, call us at 731-300-1592 or submit an inquiry via our online contact form.

Spragins, Barnett & Cobb, PLC
312 East Lafayette
Jackson, TN 38301

Phone: 731-300-1592
Fax: 731-424-0562
Jackson Law Office Map

Email Us For A Response

Tell us more about your legal issue We are here to help.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy