Posted in Right-of-Way
Condemning Replacement or Substitute Property to Mitigate Damages

A public agency’s acquisition of private property can sometimes trigger significant severance damages due to eliminating access, cutting off utility service, or taking a substantial portion of a property’s parking.  As agencies look to get more creative in minimizing exposure to large damages claims, they will sometimes offer up mitigation alternatives, such as providing an alternative access, or new utility service, or replacement parking, with such rights being granted from an adjacent or neighboring property.  These mitigation solutions are often a win-win for ...

What is the Difference Between Fee Simple, an Easement, Full Take, and Part Take?

When one hears “eminent domain” or “condemnation,” you might envision a governmental agency or utility coming in and acquiring the entirety of a piece of property and leaving nothing behind.  However, often times, condemnation does not require the entire property, but only a portion or rights to use a portion a specific way. So, what is the difference between the various terms of fee simple, an easement, full take, and part take?

Fee Simple

If someone owns land in “fee simple,” they typically have complete and total ownership of the piece of land. This is the type of ownership ...

Posted in Events, Right-of-Way
The Condemnation Process

Join us in Riverside, CA on February 7th as we provide an overview of the eminent domain process, along with best practices for right-of-way acquisition, during the International Right of Way Association (IRWA) Chapter 57 Membership Luncheon. We’ll cover everything from identifying project alternatives to ultimately acquiring specific property.

We will provide an overview of the entire process and illustrate how all of the individual components work together. In particular, we’ll discuss how to effectively navigate the precondemnation process to position for the ...

What Constitutes a “Larger Parcel?”

In California, a fundamental principle of eminent domain law is that an owner of property acquired by eminent domain is entitled to just compensation for the property interests taken (Code Civ. Proc. §1263.010). 

However, what if the acquisition for the public project involves only a portion of the owner’s property interests? This question arises quite often when a portion of an owner’s property is acquired for street or freeway widenings, grade separation projects, expansion of property already dedicated to an existing public use, as well as many other types of public ...

A Taking or Just a Fee?

We’ve been closely watching the Sheetz v. County of El Dorado case, which has worked its way up through the California trial and appellate courts all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. For a quick refresher, the case concerns whether legislatively enacted development impact fees (such as fees for building permits, etc.) are subject to the rough proportionality and nexus requirements (i.e., can a generally enacted permit fee be the subject of an unconstitutional taking). … 

Rights Included in Rights-of-Way

Join me on January 8, 2024, as I present “Rights Included in Rights-of-Way” during “California Highway and Utility Rights-of-Way,” a webinar hosted by HalfMoon Education. During my presentation, I will discuss the condemnation process, landowner rights, maintenance of rights-of-way, alterations and encroachments and different types of rights-of-way used for highway purposes.

HalfMoon Education is a nonprofit continuing education provider whose mission is to develop and sponsor high-quality, timely and competitively-priced continuing education seminars ...

Reserving Goodwill Claims

In California, a business operating on real property being acquired, in whole or in part, for a public project may make a claim for loss of goodwill and be entitled to compensation if the business operator establishes the foundational elements: (1) the taking caused the loss, (2) the loss could not be prevented by relocation or other reasonable mitigation measures, (3) the loss is not includable as a reimbursable relocation expense, and (4 ) the loss does not duplicate other compensation being paid.  (Code Civ. Proc. §1263.510(a).)  As part of its affirmative duty to mitigate damages, a ...

Viva Las Vegas: Recap of Presentations During Right of Way Consultant’s Council Membership Meeting

The Right of Way Consultant’s Council Membership Meeting took place in Downtown Las Vegas on November 3, 2023. Having previously presented an eminent domain topic at the 2022 Membership Meeting, I was invited to present two topics during the 2023 meeting. I discussed the continued deployment of the Infrastructure Act as well as the impact of American Rescue Plan Act funds on state and local infrastructure projects. I also discussed the current levels of funding and disbursements under both acts and some pragmatic difficulties experienced by some public entities in deploying the ...

Right of Way 101

This past week I had the opportunity to attend the International Right of Way Association’s (IRWA) Region 1 Fall Forum and Symposium in San Diego, California. On Friday, Brad Kuhn and I presented an update on recent federal and state cases impacting takings, land use and development in California.  On Saturday, I was an attendee at the Fall Forum where IRWA professionals throughout Region 1 (California, Nevada, and Arizona) shared updates on the status of the industry in their area. … 

Posted in Events
Reminder for Upcoming Eminent Domain / Right-of-Way Events

2023 has been another interesting year in the eminent domain world. We’ve reported on some interesting court decisions, we’ve seen funding make its way to some critical infrastructure projects in California and changing weather continues to make resiliency and natural disasters a hot topic for inverse condemnation law. But before 2023 winds down, there are some exciting end-of-year events and we hope to see you there.  … 

California Eminent Domain Report is a one-stop resource for everything new and noteworthy in eminent domain. We cover all aspects of eminent domain, including condemnation, inverse condemnation and regulatory takings. We also keep track of current cases, project announcements, budget issues, legislative reform efforts and report on all major eminent domain conferences and seminars in the Western United States.

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