• Posts by Bernadette Duran-Brown
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    Bernadette Duran-Brown is a real estate litigation attorney primarily focusing on eminent domain, inverse condemnation, regulatory takings and valuation matters.  With more than a decade of experience, she has advised numerous ...

As we all get into the holiday spirit, don’t forget to keep your skills and knowledge sharp for what is looking to shape up as a very active 2020 in the projects arena.  Join our Nossaman Partners for the following year-end conferences before settling in for your long winter’s nap! ...

Posted in Videos

We are pleased to provide the next installment of our video series from Nossaman’s 2019 Eminent Domain Seminars.  In this segment, Eminent Domain & Valuation Partner Bernadette Duran-Brown discusses Motions In Limine, a key component of preparation in many trials.

Posted in Events

This week, Nossaman Eminent Domain Partner Bernadette Duran-Brown will be speaking at the Southern California Appraisal Institute’s 50th Annual Litigation Seminar.

Ms. Duran-Brown will be providing a Summary of Recent Eminent Domain and Valuation-Related Cases. Her presentation will cover the most recent and upcoming legal developments and is essential for anyone involved with public projects or affected by large-scale development in the region.  We will provide a follow-up blog post summarizing Ms. Duran-Brown’s presentation for anyone unable to attend in person.

The ...

Posted in Court Decisions

When the California Supreme Court issued its ruling on Property Reserve v. Superior Court, handing a substantial victory to public agencies, we were given three key takeaways:  (1) the Right of Entry statutes (CCP §1245.010 et seq.) are constitutional, (2) the activities the Department of Water Resources sought to undertake are covered by the broad scope of these statues, and (3) if the language of a statute doesn’t match your planned opinion, you can always reform it to match the claimed legislative intent of the statute.

To that last point, the Court’s opinion included its ...

Posted in Court Decisions

Every year or so, a new appellate court decision comes out addressing the proper role of the judge versus the jury on some certain eminent domain issue. Most recently, a trial court, appellate court and the California Supreme Court all grappled with this question:  Does the judge determine whether a dedication requirement is constitutional, or does the jury?  Yesterday, the Supreme Court issued its decision in City of Perris v. Stamper, No. S213468 (Aug. 15, 2016) holding that it is the role of the judge to determine whether a dedication requirement is constitutional.  The ...

Posted in Court Decisions

Eminent domain fans!  Take heed: The City of Perris v. Stamper case (S213468) will finally be heard by the California Supreme Court tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. in San Francisco.  I recapped the issues that are going to be addressed in my prior post about the oral arguments.

Remember - the California Supreme Court now broadcasts its oral arguments live on the web!  Go to the CA Supreme Court's website (http://www.courts.ca.gov/supremecourt.htm) and there will be a blue box on the right that will launch the web viewer!  I hope you tune in!

 

Posted in Court Decisions

Today, the California Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the Property Reserve v. Superior Court case.  Today was also the day the Court began showing live webcasts of oral arguments online, so I was able to not only hear the arguments but see the Justices and attorneys in action.  If the Court provides a link to the oral arguments, I will include that in another post.

My initial reaction from the oral arguments - all of the Justices were very engaged in the arguments and the Court hammered both sides pretty soundly.  If I had to pick a winner, I think they went easier on the State.

The Court did ...

Posted in Court Decisions

If you are an eminent domain junkie like us, then you will appreciate knowing that the City of Perris v. Stamper case (S213468) will be heard by the California Supreme Court on May 5, 2016, at 9:00 a.m. in San Francisco. As a quick refresher, this is yet another case where the Court is trying to delineate the role of the judge versus the jury in eminent domain cases. The case considers the constitutionality of a dedication requirement imposed by the City of Perris.  The Court will be addressing two questions:

  1. Is the constitutionality of an otherwise reasonably probable dedication ...

In the last month, the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear appeals on two eminent domain-related cases.  The first case, California Building Industry Association v. City of San Jose, is one we discussed last year.  If you recall,  the California Supreme Court held that San Jose's inclusionary housing ordinance that required all new residential development projects of 20 or more units to sell at least 15 percent of the for-sale units at a price that is affordable to low or moderate income households did not impose an exaction on developers that constituted a taking.

The U.S ...

Posted in Redevelopment

Back in May, we provided an update on the status of AB2, the bill which would create Community Revitalization Investment Authorities, (see here).  Things were relatively quiet over the summer but this month has the bill seeing a lot of action: It was passed by the state senate on September 9, passed by the assembly on September 12 and has been sent for final review before hitting the governor's desk for signature.  As we discussed previously, Governor Brown vetoed the last iteration of this bill because the bill vested the program in redevelopment law, and the new bill does not.  While he ...

It appears the state assembly is trying to get California back on the redevelopment wagon...again. (For a brief history lesson on redevelopment, see below.)  Assembly Bill 2 (AB2), which passed the assembly earlier this month, would create new entities called Community Revitalization Investment Authorities that would have the same legal authority as redevelopment agencies, i.e., the power to issue bonds, provide low-income housing, prepare and adopt a plan for an area, and among others, acquire property using the power of eminent domain.  The legislature explains that the ...

Posted in Court Decisions

On March 7th, a U.S. District Court sided with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on whether the Uniform Relocation Act (URA) provides private property owners with a private right of action: it does not.  The Pacific Shores Property Owners Association sued the FAA over improvements the Border Coast Regional Airport Authority is required to make to a regional airport, Del Norte County Regional Airport, also known as Jack McNamera Field.  To meet the FAA's runway safety standards, the Authority had to close roads and acquire nearby lots to make up for the wetlands lost as a result ...

Posted in Projects

On Wednesday, a Nebraska District Court dealt the Keystone XL pipeline project a heavy blow.  The court invalidated a law that allowed the state's governor to approve the pipeline's passage through Nebraska.  The court ruled that the state's legislature circumvented the Public Service Commission (PSC), which regulates pipelines and other utilities, by allowing the governor to approve the route the pipeline would take through Nebraska.  The law also improperly granted TransCanada the power of eminent domain to acquire property within Nebraska, another decision that should ...

Posted in Projects

The City of Sacramento took another step forward on the plan for a new multi-million dollar arena for the Sacramento Kings.  Last Tuesday, in a 7-2 vote, the city council passed a resolution of necessity approving the use of eminent domain to acquire a former Macy’s store property, which comprises more than half of the property needed for the $448 million dollar project.  Wasting no time at all, the City’s legal counsel filed the eminent domain action just two days later, and plans to file a motion to gain prejudgment possession of the property to keep the city’s construction timeline ...

Posted in Projects

Last week, the Agoura Hills City Council approved acquiring 14 properties through eminent domain for its Augora Road Widening and Canwood Street Improvement Project, as reported by The Acorn.  The purpose of the project is to reduce traffic congestion and provide an emergency bypass road to the 101.  The project will expand Agoura Road from two lanes to four lanes, provide sidewalks, bike paths and landscaped pathways and medians. There will also be improvements to Kanan Road as a result.  Almost half of the acquisitions consist of only temporary construction easements. 

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Tags: Projects
Posted in Projects

Yesterday, the City of Richmond caught a small reprieve with respect to its plan to condemn underwater mortgages.  As reported by Reuters, the federal district court ruled that the lawsuit filed by lenders Wells Fargo, Deutsche Bank and The Bank of New York Mellon is unripe. The judge denied the lenders' request for an injunction to halt the City's plan to condemn underwater mortgages even though the lenders argued that the City's use of eminent domain in this context is unconstitutional.  Next Monday, the judge will decide whether to dismiss the action or leave it pending.

Posted in Projects

Despite three major banks filing federal lawsuits against the City of Richmond last month related to its plan to condemn underwater mortgages, the City continues to press on.  On Tuesday, the City voted 4-3 to continue its partnership with Mortgage Resolution Partners (MRP), the mastermind behind the scheme. (See articles from The Press Enterprise and Contra Costa Times.)   The council and MRP will form a Joint Powers Authority to administer the plan and will attempt to attract more cities to join the effort. 

While the City is still moving forward, there continues to be ...

Posted in Projects

In July, the City of Hayward passed several resolutions of necessity to acquire property for its Interstate 880 / State Route 92 Reliever Route Project.  The Project will extend Whitesell Street to provide access to State Route 92 from Winton Avenue, which is more of an industrial area.  While it sounds straight-forward, there appears to be some complex acquisitions.  Last week, the San Jose Mercury News provided some insight to the complicated project.

The city prides itself on never having filed an eminent domain action for its public project and here, the city is only seeking to ...

Posted in Projects

We all knew this was coming (see my post from July 23).  If you poke a sleeping giant, it's going to file a lawsuit against you in federal court.  Yesterday, in response to the City of Richmond's preliminary actions to condemn underwater mortgages, three heavy-hitting banks fired back by filing lawsuits in California federal court to block the condemnations. 

According to multiple news sources (here, here and here), Wells Fargo Bank, Deutsche Bank and Bank of New York Mellon Corp. have asked the court to find the City's plan unconstitutional and block its implementation.  The banks argue ...

Posted in Projects

It's been a while since we focused on the whole condemnation of underwater mortgages scheme but that doesn't mean the idea has died off.  To the contrary, apparently at least four California cities have now signed advisory agreements with Mortgage Resolution Partners.  According to the Las Vegas Sun and various other news outlets (see here and here), the cities of Richmond, San Joaquin, Orange Cove, El Monte, and perhaps a few others, have entered into an agreement with Mortgage Resolution Partners and are looking to pursue the condemnation of underwater mortgages. 

The first ...

Posted in Projects

After two years of negotiating with residential property owners, the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors approved acquisition of the property by eminent domain.  The Modesto Bee reports that the board approved the acquisition of a single-family residence at its meeting on Tuesday in order to construct its Claribel Road project, which will cost the county $15.2 million.  The project will widen Claribel Road from two lanes to a four-lane separated highway relieving congestion and reducing the safety concerns of the current configuration, which causes an estimated 16 accidents ...

Posted in Projects

The City of Imperial has taken the first step in pursuing an eminent domain proceeding by adopting a resolution of necessity to acquire a vacant property for its Transit Center Project.  As reported by the Imperial Valley Press, the City and the property owner have been negotiating the City's purchase of the property but have reached an impasse.  

While the owner concedes the project is needed in the city, he believes his property is "very valuable" and that other locations would be better suited for the Project.  The City disagreed and is moving forward with acquiring the ...

Posted in Projects

In order to construct the Silva Valley Interchange on Highway 50, the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors passed a Resolution on January 4, 2013 to acquire approximately 12 acres by eminent domain.  As reported by In El Dorado County, the county could not negotiate a deal with the owner of a 52 acre block of which the county seeks the 12 acres. The owner did not oppose the project but expressed concerns as to the impacts it would have on his remaining acreage. 

While the Board maintains that using eminent domain is not common for them and Caltrans forced its ...

Posted in Court Decisions

The Court has once again reminded us that it takes its role as gate keeper seriously.  This week, in an unpublished case, the Court of Appeal issued a decision that serves as a not-so-gentle reminder that business owners are entitled to loss of business goodwill only if they meet the four threshold requirements set forth in CCP § 1263.510: (1) the loss is caused by the taking, (2) the loss cannot be prevented by relocation of the business or taking steps a reasonably prudent person would take to preserve goodwill, (3) compensation was not paid through relocation funds, and (4) the ...

Posted in Court Decisions

A couple of weeks ago, the California Court of Appeal issued a decision that discussed an attorney malpractice lawsuit known as a settle and sue case, where the client settles whatever litigation in which they are embroiled, then turns around and immediately sues their attorney. (Filbin v. Fitzgerald, 2012 WL 5857331). Incidentally, that malpractice action stemmed from an eminent domain case, and if you're interested in it, there's some good lessons to be learned about the Final Offer/Final Demand procedures. 

But this post isn’t about that case -- or "settle and sue" ...

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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