• Posts by Katrina (Diaz) Wu
    Associate

    Katrina (Diaz) Wu is an eminent domain and real estate litigation attorney focusing primarily on eminent domain, inverse condemnation, tort, regulatory takings, and real estate and business valuation matters.  Katrina also ...

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 Associate Katrina Wu discusses the discovery process leading up to trial.

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The City of Oroville (City) has petitioned the California Supreme Court for review of an unpublished Court of Appeal decision, City of Oroville v. Superior Court (2017) 2017 WL 2554447 (Third District), finding the City liable in inverse condemnation for sewage backup into private property even though the owners failed to install and maintain backwater valves on their private property as required by state and local legal authority.  While no published decisions have been issued on this subject, four unpublished decisions in different jurisdictions throughout California over the ...

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Last week, the United States Supreme Court in Murr v. Wisconsin issued a key regulatory takings decision which creates a new multifactor balancing test to determine whether two adjacent properties with single ownership could be considered a larger parcel.  In a 5-3 decision, the Court found that the properties were a single parcel and because the owners were not deprived of all economically viable uses of their property they could not establish a compensable regulatory taking.

The Murr Family owned two lots adjacent to a river.  A cabin was built on one of the lots, while the other lot ...

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Last month, the California Supreme Court’s decision in Property Reserve v. Superior Court provided long-awaited certainty for public agencies after a court of appeal determined the often-used right of entry statutes failed to provide adequate Constitutional protection for pre-acquisition investigations and testing.  In summary, the Supreme Court held the right of entry process constitutional, with one reform:  the property owner is entitled to a jury trial on the amount of compensation.  For a full analysis, see our e-alert here.

The decision preserves a significant tool for ...

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Santa Clara County, the City of Palo Alto, and the local Housing Authority have come together to acquire the Buena Vista mobile home park from its current owner, the Jisser family, in an effort to save the mobile home park from closure. According to the Silicon Valley Business Journal, the mobile home park contains the homes of 400 or so mostly low-income residents.  The Jisser family has been trying to close the mobile home park since 2012 to prepare for future redevelopment of the site.  If the Jisser family refuses the government’s latest offer to purchase the mobile home park, the trio ...

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Posted in Court Decisions

Generally when the United States takes property pursuant to its eminent domain authority, just compensation is based on the market value of the property on the date of the taking.  However, when acquiring a street, road or public highway, the public entity whose property is taken is entitled to compensation only to the extent that, as a result of such taking, it is compelled to construct a substitute highway.  (Washington v. United States, 214 F.2d 33, 39 (9th Cir. 1954), emphasis in original.)  Where it is unnecessary to replace or provide a substitute, the public entity is only entitled to ...

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Posted in Court Decisions

In California eminent domain cases, a property or business owner is entitled to recover litigation expenses (attorneys’ fees and expert costs) when the public agency’s final offer of compensation is unreasonable and the property owner’s final demand is reasonable.  (See Code Civ. Proc., § 1250.410.)  But what happens when the government agency’s offer is subject to approval of a federal agency, the City Council, or the Board of Supervisors?  Is this a reasonable offer under Section 1250.410?  This week, the California Court of Appeal in City and County of San Francisco v. PCF ...

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California’s infrastructure is aging. There have been numerous reports of water line breaks and gas line leaks, and public agencies have been moving quickly to upgrade their utilities to minimize these risks and satisfy increasing demands. When incidents do occur, when do agencies face potential liability in inverse condemnation? A recent California Court of Appeal decision, Kelly v. Contra Costa Water District (Feb. 10, 2015) 2015 Cal.App.Unpub.LEXIS 924, while unpublished, provides some guidance.

In Kelly, the owners of a self-storage facility in Pittsburg, California ...

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In the aftermath of last year’s Rails-to-Trails DecisionMarvin M. Brandt Revocable Trust v. United States, 572 U.S. ___ (2014), the valuation of rail corridors may become increasingly necessary.  Typically there are three approaches to valuing rail corridors:  1) Across-the-Fence approach, 2) Comparable Sales approach and 3) Income approach.

  1. The Across-the-Fence approach (ATF Method) -- the most popular approach for valuing rail corridors -- appraises land utilized as a right-of-way by assuming that its market value per square foot is equal to the value of adjacent or ...
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In late September, Governor Brown signed into law AB 229 and SB 628, which are intended to finance public capital facilities or other specified projects of communitywide significance previously financed by redevelopment agencies.

AB 229 and SB 628 both seek to expand existing but underutilized Infrastructure Financing Districts (Financing Districts).

AB 229 authorizes the creation of Infrastructure and Revitalization Financing Districts (Revitalization Districts) by the legislative body of a city or county[1] to finance projects of communitywide significance pursuant ...

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Posted in Right to Take

Often times government agencies require property for a public project that is already put to a public use. What are the acquiring agency’s options, assuming an agreement cannot be reached prior to filing a condemnation action?

1.  A condemning agency may acquire property that is already devoted to a public use if the proposed use will not unreasonably interfere with or impair the continuance of the existing public use. The complaint and resolution of necessity must specifically reference the Eminent Domain Law for joint public use. (Code of Civil Procedure section 1240.510). If a ...

During a windstorm, a tree owned by the City of Pasadena fell on Mr. O’Halloran’s residence, causing damage to his home. Mercury Casualty Company paid Mr. O’Halloran for the damage pursuant to his homeowner’s insurance policy, and then sued the City for inverse condemnation and nuisance based on the damages caused by the City’s tree.

Inverse Condemnation

To state a cause of action for inverse condemnation, the plaintiff must allege that defendant substantially participated in the planning, approval, construction or operation of a public project or improvement which ...

Posted in Projects

The Oxnard Union High School District began Eminent Domain procedures to acquire property owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The property is required for construction of a right-turn lane for the new Rancho Campana High School, scheduled to open in time for the 2015-2016 school year. According to reports, the City of Oxnard set a deadline of June 30, 2014 for the district to acquire the property or begin the eminent domain process. Although the parties are currently engaged in negotiations, the district initiated eminent domain procedures in order to meet the ...

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Tags: Projects
Posted in Projects

The City of Bakersfield can now purchase property in the path of the Centennial Corridor Project between the Westside Parkway and Highway 58.  Under the early acquisition federal program, the City of Bakersfield may purchase properties from homeowners willing to voluntarily sell their property.  Approval for early acquisition of the sites will be requested at the next City Council meeting on March 5th.

On the other hand, the City may begin eminent domain proceedings for the 24th Street Widening Project to acquire the 23 homes in the project’s path.  The EIR for the project was approved ...

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Tags: Projects
Posted in Court Decisions

Landowners routinely have to give up something in return for a government agency’s granting a discretionary permit. However, there are limits, as the government agency cannot typically demand conditions that are not proportional or related to the impacts that would be created by the proposed project. These limits are referred to as the nexus and rough proportionality standards set forth in the well-known United States Supreme Court cases of Nollan v. California Coastal Commission (1987) 483 U.S. 825 and Dolan v. City of Tigard (1994) 512 U.S. 374.

In Powell v. County of ...

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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