Archives: Court Decisions

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When Condemnation Actions Go Wrong

In the vast majority of cases, when a public agency exercises eminent domain, the only issue in dispute is the amount of just compensation the agency must pay for the property being acquired.  Even in situations where a property owner challenges the agency’s right to take, it is typically for procedural reasons that can ultimately … Continue Reading

Court Clarifies Rules for Takings, Precondemnation Damages Claims

Two of the more complicated issues eminent domain attorneys face are analyzing whether government conduct rises to the level of a taking, and whether the government engaged in precondemnation conduct that gives rise to damages apart from paying just compensation. Earlier this week, an unpublished California Court of Appeal decision, Dryden Oaks v. San Diego … Continue Reading

Friday Afternoon Eminent Domain Case Review

It’s a Friday afternoon and I decided to take a quick look at the advance sheets for any newly decided appellate cases involving eminent domain. My search revealed an unpublished decision that came out yesterday (September 7, 2017) called Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency v. Souza, 2017 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 6117. I’ll provide the … Continue Reading

Court Narrowly Defines “Public Improvement” for Inverse Condemnation Liability

Under inverse condemnation law in California, a public agency is generally strictly liable for physical damage to private property caused by a public improvement.  This means a public agency can be held liable even if the public improvement was properly designed, constructed and maintained.  Rarely is there a question of whether a project constitutes a “public improvement,” but in … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Petitioned to Resolve Split in Authority Regarding Inverse Condemnation Liability in Sewage Backup Cases

The City of Oroville (“City”) has petitioned the California Supreme Court for review of an unpublished Court of Appeal decision, City of Oroville v. Superior Court (2017) 2017 WL 2554447 (Third District), finding the City liable in inverse condemnation for sewage backup into private property even though the owners failed to install and maintain backwater … Continue Reading

Court Holds Temporary Injunction on Martins Beach Access Dispute Does Not Constitute a Taking

The Martins Beach access dispute in San Mateo County continues to make headlines.  As a quick refresher, billionaire venture capitalist Vinod Khosla purchased 90 acres of beachfront property south of Half Moon Bay, and subsequently proceeded to lock the gated entry to Martins Beach, effectively preventing public access to the popular beach.  We’ve been covering … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Develops New Multifactor Balancing Test to Determine What Constitutes a “Larger Parcel” in Regulatory Takings Cases

Last week, the United States Supreme Court in Murr v. Wisconsin issued a key regulatory takings decision which creates a new multifactor balancing test to determine whether two adjacent properties with single ownership could be considered a larger parcel.  In a 5-3 decision, the Court found that the properties were a single parcel and because … Continue Reading

Public Comment Requested on Revisions to Precondemnation Right of Entry Statutes

When public agencies analyze a potential public project, they often need to gain access to private property for surveys, testing, and to otherwise investigate whether a particular property is suitable for a planned project.  Often, agencies gain access by talking with the property’s owner and reaching agreement on a right of entry.  But where the … Continue Reading

Government’s Termination of Lease Pursuant to its Terms is Not a “Taking”

Public agencies own significant amounts of property throughout California and the United States.  Sometimes, those properties are not being put to a public use, and the government acts as a landlord, leasing out property to private entities.  But when the government is ready to put the property to a public use, and it terminates the lease, … Continue Reading
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