Posts in Lawsuit.
Can a Public Agency Condemn Property to Prevent a Proposed Private Use?

In the City of Fresno, the Tower Theatre is a bohemian landmark, opened in 1929 as a 20th Century Fox Movie House. This year, it became public that Adventure Church was buying the theatre, which has caused tensions to rise in the community, with thousands signing a petition to save the historic theatre, weeks of demonstrations trying to prevent its use as a church, and even a pending lawsuit. The City attempted to defuse the situation by offering Adventure Church an alternative location, which also backfired. So what’s next? The City may be considering using eminent domain to prevent ...

WEBINAR: Living on the Edge: Managing Sea Level Rise in California

With the recent flurry of coastal law bills before the California State Legislature and the myriad headlines advising that we must retreat from the shore, sea level rise (SLR) and related climate change topics remain front and center in California. Join our Water Industry Group on May 27, 2021 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. PT for "Living on the Edge: Managing Sea Level Rise in California" as we sort through the pending legislation and discuss the basis for this ever-increasing concern with the encroaching ocean.

Comprised of attorneys from Nossaman’s Water, Environment & Land Use and ...

The Role of a Trial Court in Cases Featuring Concurrent Inverse Condemnation and Tort Claims

When a property owner suffers damage as a result of the actions of a public agency or public improvement, the owner typically pursues typical tort causes of action against the agency, along with a claim for inverse condemnation. While liability for the tort claims is decided by a jury, liability for inverse condemnation is determined by a judge. So what happens when both claims are pursued simultaneously -- should the judge rely on the jury’s determination of causation, or should the judge make his or her own findings? 

Recently in Amedee Geothermal Venture I v. Lassen Municipal ...

Watch On Demand! Eminent Domain in 2020: A Year in Review

While nobody could have anticipated the challenges of 2020, the right-of-way industry worked through difficult issues to move critical infrastructure projects forward. On February 11, 2021, our Eminent Domain & Valuation Group presented “Eminent Domain in 2020: A Year in Review,” during which we discussed decisions in key cases and trends from California and around the country that will continue to impact the right-of-way industry going forward. If you were not able to attend the live session, we invite you to watch the on-demand presentation at your convenience. 

Government’s Forced Sale of Property Does Not Constitute a Taking

When the government requires a property owner to give up private property, the takings clause normally comes into play and the government is required to exercise its power of eminent domain. But is that always the case? According to a recent court of appeal opinion, People v. Gonzalez (Nov. 24, 2020, D077208), there are a number of circumstances in which the government can require a property owner to sell without triggering a taking of private property.

In Gonzalez, a property owner was charged with using his property without a permit or variance and maintaining an unauthorized ...

COVID-19, Outdoor Dining, Street Closures and Takings?

As the world continues to grapple with the devastating impacts from COVID-19, local government agencies are finding ways to help local businesses survive while still complying with the complex maze of regulatory requirements. As just one example, many cities and counties are permitting restaurants and other businesses to offer outdoor dining and other services, including granting permits to operate on the public sidewalk or in streets. However, in some cases, while those outdoor operations may benefit some businesses, other businesses are complaining about the resulting ...

COVID-19 Update: Courts Rule Limitations on Evictions Not a Taking

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic a number of local jurisdictions throughout the country adopted ordinances freezing rents and prohibiting or limiting evictions. Not surprisingly, some landlords were not particularly pleased with these enactments, as they saw their properties occupied without the associated rental stream and still all the related carrying costs. In response, lawsuits were filed in federal and state court alleging that these enactments violated the federal and state constitution, including the takings clause. However, so far these arguments don’t ...

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Court Reminds Public Agency it Must Put Condemned Property to Public Use Within 10 Years

After adopting a resolution of necessity and initiating eminent domain proceedings to acquire private property, public agencies are usually in a rush to move forward with the proposed public project.  But every once in a while, those projects get delayed or postponed.  A recent court of appeal decision, Rutgard v. City of Los Angeles (2020) Cal.App. LEXIS 709, serves as an important reminder for public agencies that they must put the property to public use within 10 years or otherwise timely adopt a new resolution of necessity.  Absent doing so, the public agency has an obligation to offer ...

Update on COVID-19 Takings Cases

As you may recall, it wasn’t too long after Governor Newsom issued his executive order mandating the closure of certain businesses in California that the first takings lawsuit was filed. (See our coverage of Gondola Adventures, Inc. v. Gavin Newsom, U.S.D.C. Case No. 2:20-cv-03789 here.) That lawsuit alleged that the response by the state and county agencies to the COVID-19 situation violated the state and federal constitutions, and resulted in a partial or complete taking in violation of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Notably, the case was voluntarily dismissed ...

COVID-19 Takings Lawsuit Filed in California

As first reported by our good friends at inversecondemnation.com, a lawsuit has been filed in California alleging that the response by state and county agencies to the COVID-19 situation violates the state and federal Constitutions, and results in a partial or complete taking in violation of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The named defendants include Governor Newsom, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, the State Public Health Officer, county Public Health Officers, and county representatives throughout Southern California. The complaint alleges ...

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“Public Improvement” Narrowly Defined to Limit Inverse Condemnation Liability

Since the California Supreme Court’s 2019 Oroville decision, which narrowed inverse condemnation liability for public agencies, several court decisions have followed suit.  This week, the California Court of Appeal issued a published decision in Ruiz v. County of San Diego (2020 Cal. App. LEXIS 282), which further clarified and limited what constitutes a “public improvement” for purposes of inverse liability ...

While inverse condemnation liability in California originates from the California Constitution, determining when it applies -- and under what circumstances -- is based on a lengthy morass of case law that has been described by one court as “seemingly inconsistent and irreconcilable.”  If you’re interested in learning more about the subject ...

Posted in Lawsuit, Projects
Mojave Air & Space Port to Use Eminent Domain if Negotiations Fail to Lift Off

Eminent domain is typically used for roads, utilities, schools, and even airports, but in California, it is quite unusual (perhaps even unheard of) to use eminent domain for space travel.  

But according to an article in the Antelope Valley Press, Eminent domain possible if airport land buy fails, that is exactly what's about to happen.  According to the article, the Mojave Air and Space Port Board of Directors agreed to move ahead with eminent domain for acquiring several vacant parcels of land if negotiations fail.  The properties are apparently necessary to expand the safety zone ...

Posted in Lawsuit
Martin’s Beach Saga Continues With California’s New Lawsuit

On November 25, 2019, the California Court of Appeal ruled that the public’s use of a road for more than half a century to access Martin’s Beach was permissive, and therefore “did not ripen into a public dedication that would give the public a permanent right to use the property.” (See our coverage of that decision here.) In so ruling, the Court handed a seemingly significant defeat to the plaintiff, a group entitled Friends of Martin’s Beach, and a significant victory to Vinod Khosla, the billionaire who purchased the 90 acres of beachfront property and the gated access road to ...

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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