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Valuing Underground Natural Gas Storage in Eminent Domain Proceedings

In California eminent domain proceedings, a property owner is entitled to the “fair market value” of the property being acquired.  Typically, fair market value is determined by analyzing comparable sales or by utilizing an income capitalization approach.  But every once in a while, there is no relevant market data, in which case the law permits … Continue Reading

Court Rejects Takings Claim Based on Temporary Prohibition of Mining

As we’ve reported in the past, temporary takings are compensable in California.  But such claims are not easy to prove, particularly when you’re dealing with the federal government imposing temporary regulations preventing use of property.  A recent case, Reoforce v. United States, demonstrates some of the hurdles an impacted property owner may face. In Reoforce, the … Continue Reading

Property Reserve Aftermath: Discovery Available in Right of Entry Cases & Young’s Market Co.

When the California Supreme Court issued its ruling on Property Reserve v. Superior Court, handing a substantial victory to public agencies, we were given three key takeaways:  (1) the “Right of Entry” statutes (CCP §1245.010 et seq.) are constitutional, (2) the activities the Department of Water Resources sought to undertake are covered by the broad … Continue Reading

Have We Seen the Last Dance for Quantitative Before Condition Goodwill Valuations?

When a business is taken as a result of a public improvement, the business is entitled to seek compensation for, among other things, loss of business goodwill. Typically, this loss is calculated by measuring the business’ “before-condition” value and comparing to its “after-condition” value.  This traditional methodology was the cornerstone for business goodwill appraisers to … Continue Reading

A Condemnation Action is Looming — What are a Landlord’s Disclosure Obligations to Potential Lessees?

Before an eminent domain action is filed, public infrastructure projects involve years of planning, environmental approvals, design, and property negotiations.  During this time, property owners and real estate agents/brokers are often faced with deciding what to disclose about the potential condemnation to prospective tenants when attempting to lease out space.  It is a difficult position to … Continue Reading

Tentative Decision Favors Private Utility Company in Takeover Bid

One of the hot issues in eminent domain these days involves the government’s efforts to take over privately-run utility companies.  The argument typically is that the government — which has no profit-making motive — can run the utility at a lower cost, saving the ratepayers money.   Not surprisingly, the utility companies feel otherwise. In California, … Continue Reading

New Opinion Clarifies Takings Law Regarding Affordable Housing Programs

Last year, my partner Ben Rubin reported on the California Supreme Court’s decision in California Building Industry Association v. City of San Jose, which analyzed an inclusionary housing ordinance and held that such ordinances do not qualify as “exactions” and, consequently, are reviewed under a deferential standard that looked at whether the ordinance was “reasonably related” to the city’s … Continue Reading

How to Negotiate a Right of Entry After Property Reserve

Last month, the California Supreme Court’s decision in Property Reserve v. Superior Court provided long-awaited certainty for public agencies after a court of appeal determined the often-used “right of entry” statutes failed to provide adequate Constitutional protection for pre-acquisition investigations and testing.  In summary, the Supreme Court held the right of entry process constitutional, with … Continue Reading

Judge Should Consider Constitutionality of a Dedication Requirement, Not the Jury

Every year or so, a new appellate court decision comes out addressing the proper role of the judge versus the jury on some certain eminent domain issue. Most recently, a trial court, appellate court and the California Supreme Court all grappled with this question:  Does the judge determine whether a dedication requirement is constitutional, or does the jury?  Yesterday, … Continue Reading
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