Posts from 2013
Posted in Court Decisions

Eminent domain actions are unique in that "the court, rather than the jury, typically decides questions concerning the preconditions to recovery of a particular type of compensation, even if the determination turns on contested issues of fact."  (See Emeryville Redevelopment Agency v. Harcros Pigments, Inc. (2002) 101 Cal.App.4th 1083, 1116.)  This is consistent with the general rule in eminent domain that the jury’s role is only to determine the amount of damages, leaving other questions to be resolved by the Court.  While these factual disputes are typically decided by the judge ...

Posted in Projects

The California Transportation Commission announced this week that it has awarded $359 million to help fund 36 projects in California.  Some of the projects receiving funding include:

  • $140 million to the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART)  to purchase 46 new rail cars that will provide new service from the BART/Caltrain Millbrae Station directly to San Francisco International Airport.
  • $15 million to Santa Clara for the US 101 Freeway Performance Initiative.
  • $43.8 million for the SR 99/Pelandale Interchange in Modesto.
  • $46 million for improvements to I-405 in Orange County

A full list of ...

Posted in Events

On October 5, 2013, Governor Brown signed AB 401 (Daly, D- Anaheim) into law.  The new law grants Caltrans, Orange County Transportation Authority, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority and other regional transportation agencies expanded authority to use design build for project procurement.  You can view a summary of the new law here.  Highlights include:

  • Caltrans is now able to use design-build procurement for 10 projects on the state highway system;
  • The Orange County Transportation Authority may now use design-build for improvements on the I-405;
  • The Santa Clara ...
Posted in Projects

According to Jason Henry's article in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, West Covina contests condemnation of properties at Westfield Mall, Lakes Drive, the City of West Covina plans to contest an eminent domain action filed by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to acquire land near Westfield Mall needed for the expansion of the I-10 Freeway.  

Caltrans' proposed acquisition will eliminate a California Pizza Kitchen, the former Bob's Big Boy building, an AT&T store, as well as a row of parking spaces along the I-10 near Lakes Drive.  The City claims that Caltrans ...

Posted in New Legislation

Earlier this week, Governor Brown vetoed AB 374, a bill to amend Code of Civil Procedure section 1263.510, the statute governing recovery of loss of business goodwill in an eminent domain case.  But it's not the veto that caught my eye so much as the veto message, which really left me scratching my head until I looked more carefully at what was going on (or at least what appeared to be going on).

Some history:  last year, the Court of Appeal issued the decision in People ex rel. Department of Transportation v. Dry Canyon Enterprises 211 Cal.App.4th 486 (2012).  The case purported to make some ...

Posted in Projects

More than 50 years ago, Caltrans purchased roughly 500 homes under threat of eminent domain within the planned right-of-way for the anticipated construction of the I-710 freeway (linking Monterey Park to Pasadena).  That freeway project still has not been built, yet Caltrans continues to own the properties.  There have been plenty of negative news stories about the amount of money Caltrans has spent on the upkeep of those residences (see Gideon's Trumpet), but apparently Caltrans' property ownership may finally come to an end.  Not because the I-710 freeway is actually going to be ...

Posted in Court Decisions

The Supreme Court is apparently not done with its recent interest in takings decisions.  Following the decisions in Arkansas Game and Fish Commission v. United StatesHorne v. Department of Agriculture, and Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Mgmt District, the Supreme Court announced today that it will hear another takings case, Marvin M. Brandt Irrevocable Trust v. United StatesThe Supreme Court's blog describes the issue in Brandt as follows:

Whether the United States retained an implied reversionary interest in rights-of-way created by the General Railroad Right-of-Way Act of ...

Posted in Projects

According to an article in the Desert Sun, CVAG OKs plan to help fund passenger rail, the Coachella Valley Association of Governments ("CVAG") recently approved an agreement with the Riverside County Transportation Commission for a new rail fund that will devote a portion of local transportation funds to expanding passenger rail service.  It will likely take at least a year before the agencies are able to report on possible station locations and schedules, but the long-term plan is to have connections through the valley with Los Angeles.

A prior study proposed stops in three cities ...

Posted in Court Decisions

Property owners are routinely hiring attorneys well in advance of a public agency's filing of an eminent domain action.  Many times, the representation begins before it is even certain whether the agency will actually move forward with acquiring the property.  And sometimes, claims for inverse condemnation may ripen during the public agency's construction of the project on other nearby properties.  When this overlap exists between inverse condemnation and potential future eminent domain actions, owners should be careful to assess how the attorney will be compensated.  A recent ...

Posted in Events

On October 2, my partner Brad Kuhn and I will be speaking at the International Right of Way Association, Chapter 57, lunch meeting.  The meeting takes place at the Old Spaghetti Factory in Riverside -- and who doesn't like old spaghetti? 

We're going to talk about a little of everything, updating people on a few of the more interesting eminent domain cases decided recently, talking about the progress in the dissolution of California's redevelopment agencies, and taking a look at Richmond, California's plan to condemn underwater mortgages. 

If you're in the area -- or just want to hear ...

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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