A condemnation is the legal process by which the government or public utility (North Carolina or a local city or county, or Duke Energy) takes title to property of a private owner. The taking must be for public purpose. Many times, the owner and condemning authority negotiate a price before formal legal proceedings are filed. If the owner does not agree with the government’s offer, the government must file a condemnation lawsuit to take the property. When it files this lawsuit, the government must deposit what it contends is the just compensation for the property and that deposit then transfers title to the area taken to the government. The owner has the right to contest the government’s opinion of just compensation and ultimately present its opinion on the value of just compensation to a jury.