What is a Court Plat?
In all North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) condemnation cases, the DOT must file a court plat after filing each eminent domain lawsuit. Note that this court plat is not the same thing as the colored map that is attached to the lawsuit complaint (that map regularly changes, so it actually means very little in a case). Instead, the official court plat is proscribed as follows under NC General Statute §136-106(c):
The Department of Transportation, within 90 days from the receipt of the answer, shall file in the cause a plat of the land taken and such additional area as may be necessary to properly determine the damages, and a copy thereof shall be mailed to the parties or their attorney; provided, however, the Department of Transportation shall not be required to file a map or plat in less than six months from the date of the filing of the complaint.
The above language is a bit confusing, as it requires a plat map to be filed within 90 days of the filing of an answer. In NC, however, a defendant property owner in a DOT case has up to one year to file an answer, so the statute allows for this fact and then sets the minimum amount of time for the DOT to produce the map at six months. In practice, our experience as commercial condemnation attorneys shows that court plats are typically produced at a minimum of 9-12 months after a lawsuit is filed. So, cases are typically delayed no matter what by the production of the court plat by the Department.
Once the map is produced, it includes a survey diagram of the property, all new right of way and easement lines and areas, and tables of the calculated areas for each of those interests taken. This map, unless disputed, is the foundation for the case that all parties then litigate off of in the case.
North Carolina Eminent Domain Attorneys That Fight For Property Owners
If you are a business owner and have received notice from the government or another entity about the seizure of your property, contact the eminent domain lawyers at Henson Fuerst. We’ll help you understand your legal options and guide you through the entire condemnation process.
Contact us today for a free legal consultation by filling out and submitting the form below or calling our office toll-free at 866-821-3146.