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Overview of Eminent Domain

The terms “Eminent Domain” and “Condemnation” are terms that relate to the inherent power of the Government to take private property for a public use.  The Term “Eminent Domain” specifically identifies the power of the Government to take private property.  The term “Condemnation” specifically refers to the exercise of that power through “Condemnation Proceedings”.  Thus, the government has the power of “Eminent Domain” and exercises that power when it “Condemns” a person’s property.

Eminent Domain is one of the oldest areas of the law.  Eminent Domain developed as a developed as a specific legal right of the sovereign in European feudal times under the concept that the king owned all the land and the king’s subjects only occupied the land under the king’s authority.

In the United States our founding fathers placed great importance on the rights of an individual to own private property.  They sought to protect this right in the Constitution while still recognizing the government’s interest in being able to acquire property for the purpose of making public improvements such as roads and other such necessities.  Our Federal Constitution and each State’s constitution has provisions designed to protect private property and limit the government’s power to condemn land from the citizens.  These constitutional provisions generally provide for; (A)“Due Process” designed to afford a legal process that must be followed to make sure the taking is legal and proper, and (B) Ensure that the person from whom the property is taken is paid “Just Compensation” for his/her damages.

The power of Eminent Domain is possessed by the Federal, State, County, and Municipal Governments.  The government has by legislative action delegated and extended the power of Eminent Domain to other entities such as railroads, utility companies and airports.

The discussions in this web site generally pertain to all entities possessed of the power of Eminent Domain.  There are exceptions to the general discussions in this site from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and based on the different entities exercising the power of Eminent Domain.  Anyone affected by this body of law should seek specific legal advice on the matter.


At the Ritchie Law Firm in Pryor, OK we represent clients throughout Oklahoma, including Pryor, Claremore, Wagoner, Vinita, Jay, Muskogee, Tulsa, Nowata, and Sapulpa. 
Through the following counties: Mayes County, Rogers County, Tulsa County, Craig County, Wagoner County,
Muskogee County, Nowata County, Delaware County, Osage County, and Creek County.