The vast majority of Florida businesses utilize private property to conduct their commercial enterprises. For these businesses, road frontage and high traffic count can be critically important to their success. Fast food restaurants and petroleum marketers, for example, depend on road frontage and heavy traffic to attract their customers.
Proximity to busy roadways means that commercial properties are prime targets for eminent domain acquisition. Indeed, community and political pressure often demand that traffic congestion be alleviated, and the widening of roads — and the corresponding taking of businesses’ private property rights — usually follow.
Fortunately for Florida businesses, Florida’s eminent domain laws contain strong protections for commercial entities faced with an eminent domain taking. These protections enable business owners to be paid fully and fairly for the taking of their property rights, and that compensation can, in certain circumstances, include business damages.
In Florida, business damages consist of, “lost profits, loss of goodwill, and costs related to the moving and selling equipment” that are attributable to an eminent domain taking. See Systems Components Corp v. Dep’t of Transportation, 985 So.2d 687, 690 (Fla. 5th DCA 2008).
For a Florida business to qualify for business damages, the business must: (1) have been established at the place of the taking for at least five years; (2) be subject to a partial — as opposed to a whole — taking by a Florida public entity (e.g., the Florida Department of Transportation, a county, or a city); (3) utilize the part of the property acquired in the conduct of the business; and (4) meet certain procedural requirements (e.g., the business must file a business damage claim and supportive information in a timely fashion).
Fixel, Maguire & Willis’s attorneys, through their decades of experience practicing Florida eminent domain law, have handled hundreds of eminent domain matters for Florida businesses. This experience has enabled Fixel, Maguire & Willis to handle eminent domain matters for almost every conceivable type of Florida business, including restaurants, retail stores, hotels/motels, petroleum marketers, mini-storage businesses, insurance agencies, printing businesses, farming operations, medical offices, banks, and auto centers.
In handling these business related claims, Fixel, Maguire & Willis’s attorneys investigate the unique qualities of each business client and associate well-trained business valuation and site analyst experts to detail how the relevant business will be affected by the taking at issue. If you have a question about how your business may be affected by eminent domain taking in Florida, please contact Fixel, Maguire & Willis’s firm administrator, Susie Harris, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone toll-free at 1-800-848-7535.