Challenging the Public Purpose for Which the Government Is Taking Your Property

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In South Carolina, challenging the public purpose of a condemnation is one of the ways that a property owner can challenge a condemnation case, which is when the government or a private entity exercises its power of eminent domain to take private property for public use. To challenge the public purpose of a condemnation, the property owner can argue that:

  1. The proposed use of the property is not for a public purpose: The property owner can argue that the intended use of the property does not meet the definition of a "public use" under South Carolina law. A public use is generally defined as a use that is for the benefit of the public or serves a public purpose, such as a highway or a public park.
  1. The taking of the property is not necessary to achieve the public purpose: The property owner can argue that the taking of their property is not necessary to achieve the intended public purpose. They can assert that there are other less intrusive means to achieve the same public purpose without taking their property.

To challenge the public purpose of a condemnation, the property owner must file a lawsuit against the condemning authority. The lawsuit must be filed within a specific time frame, and the property owner must provide evidence and legal arguments to support their case. S.C. Code of Laws §28-2-470, entitled “Proceedings to challenge condemnor's right to condemn” states:

An action challenging a condemnor's right to condemn must be commenced in separate proceedings filed in the court of common pleas in the county in which the property or a portion thereof is located. The action must be commenced within thirty days after service of the Condemnation Notice upon the landowner. All proceedings under the Condemnation Notice are automatically stayed until the disposition of the action, if any, unless the landowner and the condemnor consent otherwise. No issues involving the condemnor's right to condemn may be heard in the trial upon the issue of just compensation.

It is important to note that the condemnation process can be complex, and property owners facing eminent domain proceedings are advised to seek the assistance of an experienced attorney to represent them and protect their rights. Attorney Ryan F. McCarty has helped landowners receive just compensation after a government entity or utility seizes their property through condemnation. Contact KD Trial Lawyers today at (864) 585-5100 or to assist you in the litigation of these cases.

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