2009 Eminent Domain Year in Review
Posted in Right to Take

2009 has come and gone.  With it, we moved one more year past 2005's Kelo decision -- and a lot closer to what those of us who have worked in eminent domain for many years consider "normal."  Massive eminent domain reform efforts seem -- for now -- to be a thing of the past.

The California Legislature passed no substantive changes to California's eminent domain law, and the closest we came to a marquee eminent domain case last year was probably the Marina Towers decision, which was much discussed, but does not represent any sweeping changes to California law.

Still, there were a few notable decisions, and we have summarized them all in a "2009 eminent domain year in review" piece.  We also forecast some probable trends for 2010, which include a likely increase in overall eminent domain activity as the economy recovers and the stimulus dollars percolate down to the ground, along with continuing court attention on regulatory takings issues.

For those who want a "checklist" of notable reported eminent domain decisions from 2009, here it is:

  • Murphy v. Burch (2009) 46 Cal.4th 157 (Easement by Necessity / Right to Take);
  • City of Stockton v. Marina Towers LLC, et al. (2009) 171 Cal.App.4th 93 (Right to Take);
  • Hauselt v. County of Butte (2009) 172 Cal.App.4th 550 (Inverse Condemnation);
  • Los Angeles Unified School District v. Pulgarin (2009) 175 Cal.App.4th 101 (Business Goodwill);
  • People ex rel. Dept. of Transportation v. Acosta (2009) 178 Cal.App.4th 762 (Business Goodwill);
  • Kearney v. Foley & Lardner (9th Cir. 2009) 566 F.3d 826 (Discovery);
  • Guggenheim v. City of Goleta (9th Cir. 2009) 582 F.3d 996 (Inverse Condemnation / Regulatory Takings); and
  • Montara Water & San. Dist. v. County of San Mateo (N.D. Cal. 2009) 598 F.Supp.2d 1070 (Right to Take).

Finally, for a preview of at least one upcoming 2010 case, watch for the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Stop the Beach Renourishment, Inc. v. Florida Department of Environmental Protection.  It will almost certainly generate a lot of attention when it comes down.

  • Rick E. Rayl

    Rick Rayl is an experienced litigator on a broad range of complex civil litigation issues.  His practice is concentrated primarily on eminent domain, inverse condemnation, and other real-estate-valuation disputes.  His public ...

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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