North Carolina eminent domain, North Carolina land condemnation

2011 Update – North Carolina Eminent Domain Cases

First Annual North Carolina Eminent Domain Case Update

So far, North Carolina condemnation lawyers as well as lay people seem to find a helpful source for questions about eminent domain in NC. Recently, has published its first annual update of North Carolina condemnation cases. This 2011 condemnation cases update includes all North Carolina eminent domain cases in both State and Federal appellate courts (i.e., cases from North Carolina in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and North Carolina Supreme Court as well as the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and the United States Supreme Court).

(This update also includes one condemnation case reported from the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina.)

For each case, there is a very brief summary that includes key holdings. These cases, of course, frequently contain other important points, so you may want to read the entire text of each case. To make that easier, each summary includes links to the case at the website of the relevant appellate court. Plus, for those of you with Westlaw or Lexis accounts, there are also links to each case on those services. Finally, many of these cases already have individual posts of their own here on So, for those cases, you will also find links below to their respective posts on the Cases page.

To read the 2011 Update – North Carolina Condemnation Cases, you should click here.

​Read More
Eminent Domain Statutes, North Carolina eminent domain, North Carolina land condemnation, Proper Parties in Eminent Domain Cases

New Statute Prohibits Naming Trustees as Parties in Civil Cases

New Statute Prohibits Naming Trustees as Parties in Civil Actions, including Condemnation Cases
New Statute Prohibits Naming Trustees as Parties in Civil Actions, including Condemnation Cases

North Carolina has just ratified a bill, signed by the Governor, that is partially entitled,


S.B. 679, 2011 Sess. Law 312 (the “Act”).

The Act, which is effective October 1, 2011, modifies North Carolina General Statutes in Chapters 24 (Interest), 45 (Mortgages and Deeds of Trust), and 161 (Register of Deeds). It also creates a new statute, N.C. Gen. Stat. § 45-45.3, which is entitled, “Trustee in a deed of trust” and is set out below.  That statute effectively prohibits anyone from naming a trustee under a deed of trust as a defendant in any civil action other than a foreclosure or an exercise of a power of sale.  If a trustee is improperly named as a party, the statute permits the named trustee to seek and receive an involuntary dismissal and costs and attorneys’ fees.

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 45-45.3 Applies to All Civil Actions including Condemnation

Because this statute affects civil actions, including eminent domain in North Carolina, we have recently posted about it at

To read more about this new statute, and find out how to deal with it, you should click here.

​Read More
North Carolina eminent domain, North Carolina land condemnation

North Carolina eminent domain law

As an Associate City Attorney, my primary practice area is eminent domain or land condemnation, representing the City of Raleigh in filing lawsuits to acquire private property for public projects for the City of Raleigh.  My wife, Inez de Ondarza Simmons, is also an North Carolina eminent domain lawyer, although she never represents clients against the City of Raleigh.

We have noticed that since the Connecticut condemnation case of Kelo v. City of New London, eminent domain has become a very popular topic of discussion.  But in North Carolina, the law of eminent domain is different than in other states, and it is complicated.  The key North Carolina eminent domain statutes are spread across a handful of Articles in two separate Chapters of the North Carolina General Statutes.  The rules of evidence and procedure differ from other types of civil litigation.  Moreover, in North Carolina, how damages are determined (the “measure of damages”) depends on which condemnor files the lawsuit and the purpose for which the private property is being acquired.

NC Eminent Domain Law for Property OwnersNew Eminent Domain Resouce for NC Property Owners!

Inez has recently started a new website to try to help regular people — individuals and business owners — understand how eminent domain works here in North Carolina. To jump to her new site, you should click  here.


To help provide a resource on the law of eminent domain, I recently started a new website,  On it you will find summaries of eminent domain cases as they are handed down by the North Carolina Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.  At the end of each summary is a link to the PDF of the Court’s actual opinion that is published on the Court’s website as well as a link to the case as published on Westlaw, one of two main legal databases.  If you have a Westlaw account, you can click the Westlaw link, sign into Westlaw, and you will be brought directly to the case, complete with Westlaw’s headnotes.

In addition to the cases, you can also find key North Carolina land condemnation statutes.  The  “quick take” statutes of Chapter 136 are already up.  (The NC DOT and certain other condemnors have “quick-take” power and file their condemnation lawsuits under Chapter 136.)  The Chapter 40A statutes are coming.  Generally, cities and counties do not have Chapter 136 power and have to use Article 3 of Chapter 40A.  Progress Energy and other public utilities land condemnation is governed by Article 2 of Chapter 40A, which has yet a different set of rules.

Also, Razz Rasberry, a Deputy City Attorney with the City of Raleigh, was kind enough to let me put up his latest paper on inverse condemnation, which includes an inverse condemnation case update.  Many people, including some lawyers, do not understand the phrase, “inverse condemnation”, or what it can mean in terms of attorney’s fees and costs for the property owner in North Carolina. So, once again, Razz has provided an excellent resource.

So, if you would like to learn more about North Carolina condemnation law or if you are another land condemnation lawyer in NC and want an easy way to keep up with new cases and statutes, you should visit and bookmark

P.S.  There is also a Twitter feed. If you follow it @NCCondemnLaw, you will know about new posts as soon as they go up.

P.P.S. Looking for an eminent domain resource geared specifically for North Carolina property owners? Again, to see Inez’s new site, you should click here.

​Read More
North Carolina eminent domain, North Carolina land condemnation

New iMaps for Raleigh and Wake County

The combined iMaps for Raleigh and Wake County is being improved.  Apparently, it is still in beta test form, but if you click the button image to the left you can try out the new features.  A couple of things I noticed right away are:

  • Google street view is available from within iMaps;
  • there is a zoomed out box, so you can see your general location;
  • when you select a feature, a box pops-up over top of the map, instead of re-drawing the whole map; and
  • to the lower right of the map there are direct links to the tax card.

Other features and upgrades are listed on Wake County’s official iMaps website here.

So far, I have not had a chance to work with the new iMaps very much, but it looks like it will be a great improvement on an essential tool for locating properties and understanding their characteristics.  I know I will continue to use it to understand valuation issues in land condemnation cases.

Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think of the new iMaps and how you are using it.

​Read More
North Carolina eminent domain, North Carolina land condemnation, Uncategorized

Links to helpful databases & how to use them better

I recently added a page with helpful links to public databases. These databases are North Carolina state and local Wake County sites — and a few others  — that I regularly use in my land condemnation and real estate litigation practice areas. Instead of a simple list of hyperlinks, I have tried to comment on each database and to provide tips on using each one better. The public information contained in these databases can be very helpful in understanding the subject property in an eminent domain or land use case, which in turn, can help opposing parties better reach a settlement.  In my experience, if folks do not know what they are arguing over, it’s pretty hard to settle a lawsuit.

​Read More