Immediately after the condemner notifies the business owner, it may file an eminent domain action.
Once the business owner receives the statutory notice, the owner has 180 days to submit a written good-faith business damage offer by certified mail to the condemner.
Once the condemner has received the initial business damage offer and substantiating records, it has 120 days to accept or reject the offer or make a counteroffer.
During pre-suit negotiations, the condemner and owners may agree to submit the claims for compensation and business damages to non-binding mediation.
Attorneys' fees for pre-suit settlement of business damages are to be calculated using one of two formulas: If the initial business damage offer of the owner or condemner is accepted, then fees are calculated based on only the attorney's time; otherwise, fees for business damages are calculated in the same manner as in a circuit court proceeding.
Importantly, the statute does not require the condemner to pay the owner's fees and costs if the parties do not settle pre-suit.
However, if two conditions are satisfied, the condemner may have an additional 90 days from receipt of certain business records to make an initial counteroffer: First, if the owner did not provide existing business records, as statutorily defined, to substantiate the offer; and second, if such records are later deemed material to determining business damages.
Previously, the condemner would have additional time to make an offer by making a general discovery request for business records.
Notice is not required to a person who acquires title to the property after the condemner provides the initial notice.