Ensuring that Florida residents have access to safe and adequate power sources is a constant process of the utility companies that service the state. Over the course of the last decade, multiple power companies have attempted to work together to build a more than 500 mile-long natural gas pipeline through Florida and parts of other surrounding states. The companies engaged in eminent domain proceedings to take land from Florida residents in order to construct their controversial project.
While some Floridians accepted the payouts that the utility companies offered them, others chose to fight the taking of their land in court. Two property owners, a father and son, decided to stand up to the imposition of the pipeline through their properties and won. A Florida jury awarded them more than $1 million in damages for the harm they suffered.
The complex land use matter turned on whether property owners must be bound by the federal laws that the power companies were attempting to use to justify their taking of the land. The court in the case found that the property owners were entitled to protection under state property law which requires the payment of full compensation for land takings.
Property owners have rights to fight the illegal and impermissible taking of their land by governments and private corporations. This story should be a strong reminder to individuals that they do not have to give up when eminent domain threats challenge their rights to use and enjoy their own land. Property rights attorneys can be important advocates for men and women who are concerned that they may lose their land to eminent domain proceedings.