Posts from 2012

A few weeks ago, the California Court of Appeal issued an interesting unpublished decision detailing a long, drawn-out eminent domain battle in Riverside County.  I haven't blogged about it yet because, well to be honest, it feels like such a crazy story I couldn't figure out where to start or what to cover.  But here we go.


The case, Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District v. O'Doherty, starts off rather dull.  In order to serve a residential development, the Water District planned to construct a pump station in a public right of way.  Because it was believed the planned ...

Posted in Court Decisions

On occasion, public agencies decide to abandon or partially abandon an eminent domain proceeding.  The most typical reason is due to a revision in project design, making the property no longer necessary for the proposed project.  However, to the surprise of many, an abandonment can also occur after an agency receives an unfavorable jury verdict.  Code of Civil Procedure section 1268.510 provides that an agency "may wholly or partially abandon the proceeding" any time after filing the complaint up until 30 days after the entry of final judgment.  (The only exception is if the ...

Posted in Court Decisions

Inverse condemnation claims can be tricky, particularly in the regulatory context.  You don't want to file your claim too soon, as that will likely result in your claim being booted out of court on ripeness grounds.  But you also don't want to file your claim too late, as that can result in your claim being barred by the applicable statute of limitations.  It is a delicate balance, and one that can often defy logic.  (For a real world example of this Catch 22, see Brad Kuhn's Blog Post.)  Last week, in Rivera v. County of Solano, Case No. A133616, the California Court of Appeal ...

Posted in Events

As the summer months come to an end, it means the International Right of Way Association monthly luncheons are set to resume -- at least in Orange County and the Inland Empire (those crazy right of way folks in Los Angeles go year-around).  Chapter 67's lunch is scheduled for September 11 at the Marriott in Santa Ana, and Chapter 57's lunch is set for September 12 at the Old Spaghetti Factory in Riverside.  So what's on tap?

In Orange County, my partner Rick Rayl will be presenting on the use of eminent domain for underwater mortgages.  We've covered this topic in detail here on the blog, but please ...

Posted in Court Decisions

On August 30, 2012, the Second Appellate District of the California Court of Appeal held that a privately owned utility could be subject to strict liability for inverse condemnation, thereby concurring with a similar holding previously reached out of the Fourth Appellate District.

A typical inverse condemnation action is initiated when a property owner files a complaint essentially asserting that a government agency is trying to take its property without filing a formal eminent domain action.  Typical inverse condemnation claims involve ...

Posted in Projects

Below are some updates on California projects have turned to eminent domain to complete right-of-way acquisition.  They involve issues that are somewhat typical in condemnation proceedings: disputes over severance damages and a property's highest and best use.  

  • Riverside County Flood Control Project:  According to an article in the North County Times, LAKE ELSINORE: Board authorizes condemnation for flood channel, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors has approved the use of eminent domain to acquire a 5-acre easement across a 33-acre property for the Arroyo Del Toro flood ...
Posted in Projects

The FHWA recently published a series of useful short videos on its website.  For those of you working on transportation projects involving federal aid, check them out below:

  • Right-of-Way Coordination and Certification Requirements.  Before an agency gets to construct its project, it needs to coordinate and certify the right-of-way.  This video provides an overview of the initial coordination process when federal funds are involved, including what must be completed before putting a project out to bid, and the need to obtain physical possession of the impacted properties.
Posted in Court Decisions

I know our blog is called the California Eminent Domain Report -- implying we only cover eminent domain-related issues, but in actuality we cover anything valuation-related.  After all, our group of attorneys is known as the Eminent Domain & Valuation Practice Group.  With that said, an interesting value dispute has popped up, making its way to the California Supreme Court.  This one deals with whether intangible assets should be included in one's property tax assessments, and we're looking forward to the Court's decision.

The case, Elk Hills Power v. California ...

Posted in Court Decisions

Earlier this year in City of Livermore v. Baca, the California Court of Appeal held that as long as an expert can identify damages arising from a taking or public project, those damages likely will not qualify as speculative, and they can be presented to a jury in an eminent domain action.   Did this broad holding turn upside down traditional rules of admissibility and recovery of damages, or did it just affirm existing law?  And how will courts apply Baca in the future?  Two recently issued unpublished appellate decisions may help guide the way.

The Superior Coatings Decision

Last ...

Posted in Projects

If you're an infrastructure and right of way junkie like me, you'll be interested in a few of the updates below.  If you're not a transportation nut (and understandably so), it still doesn't hurt to get caught up on the happenings in California and at the federal level.  So read on.

MAP-21:  This Summer, Congress passed the "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act."  If you ever hear the acronym MAP-21 thrown around, this Act is what's being referred to.  What does it do and why do you care?  In its simplest terms, the Act reauthorizes transportation funding through the end of 2014.  But it is ...

California Eminent Domain Report is a one-stop resource for everything new and noteworthy in eminent domain in California. We cover all aspects of eminent domain in California, 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 California eminent domain conferences and seminars.

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