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 ...

Is California Coming for Your Beach House?

Yes, but the sea might beat them to it. In 2015, the California Coastal Commission adopted the Sea Level Rise Policy Guidance. This Guidance document discusses a number of potential measures for responding to sea level rise, including "managed retreat." As explained in the Guidance document, "[r]etreat strategies are those strategies that relocate or remove existing development out of hazard areas and limit the construction of new development in vulnerable areas." Examples of retreat strategies include the acquisition and buy-out of "threatened" properties. While many ...

Posted in New Legislation
New Legislation Proposes Government Takeover of PG&E

On February 3, 2020, Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) introduced Senate Bill 917 (“SB 917”), which would establish a new process for a potential government takeover of Pacific Gas and Electric Company (“PG&E”).

SB 917 would reestablish the California Consumer Energy and Conservation Financing Authority and authorize it to acquire, by eminent domain, the assets or ownership of certain electric or gas utilities that meet its criteria, including PG&E. Local publicly owned energy utilities may elect to join in the eminent domain action brought by the Authority and ...

Governor’s 2020 Budget Signals State’s Willingness to Takeover PG&E

Welcome to 2020! It is a new year and with every new year, comes a lot of new: new goals, new diet, new workout routines that leave every part of you sore...  In the professional setting, a new year brings a lot of “chores,” like closing out the financials for the previous year, perhaps completing year-end reviews, and on and on, and you are left asking, “We do this every year…??”  One of those chores is almost sure to be budgeting, which is universally considered to be unpleasant. Well, imagine having to kick off the year by preparing a budget for the entire state of California, the 5th largest economy in the world

Luckily, that chore was left to Governor Newsom and last week, he released his 2020 budget proposal. The proposed $222 billion dollar state budget ...

Brad Kuhn was quoted extensively in the Daily Journal article “Century-Old Doctrine  Haunts Fire Litigation.” The article provides an overview of how developments in inverse condemnation that occurred in 2019 pose numerous questions for 2020 in California. 

In the article, Brad commented on inverse condemnation—a legal provision under California state law that holds if a power company’s equipment starts a fire, it is responsible for paying property damages, even if they are not found to have been negligent.

He stated that the “inverse doctrine in and of itself is ...

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Tags: Wildfires
Will Long-Awaited Changes to NEPA Materially Alter Federal Environmental Reviews?

On January 10, 2020, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) proposed amendments to National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) implementing regulations.  The Proposed Rule would represent the first significant overhaul of CEQ’s NEPA regulations in more than 40 years.

The changes in the Proposed Rule are substantial and numerous. 

While the stated purpose of the changes is to facilitate more effective and timely environmental review of federal agency actions, the practical impact of the proposed changes is far from clear.  Below, we focus on some of the more significant ...

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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 ...

Last year, the United States Supreme Court made headlines (at least in our eminent domain world) by issuing a ruling in Knick v. Township of Scott that property owners can bypass the state courts and directly file a Fifth Amendment takings claim in federal court (you can find our write-up on Knick here).  This was a stark shift from prior law, which held that a property owner had to first finalize their pursuit of compensation through any applicable state procedures.  We are still feeling the effects from the Supreme Court's holding, but one question that has been raised is how does the ...

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 ...

Posted in Videos

We are pleased to provide the final installment of our video series from Nossaman’s 2019 Eminent Domain Seminars. In this segment, Eminent Domain & Valuation Partner Rick Rayl discusses the different types of Right-to-Take Challenges and how they affect both parties to an eminent domain case.

We look forward to seeing everyone for our March 2020 Seminars in San Francisco and Orange County. Please contact us through the blog if you wish to receive save-the-date information.

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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