Posts tagged Business Goodwill.
Reserving Goodwill Claims

In California, a business operating on real property being acquired, in whole or in part, for a public project may make a claim for loss of goodwill and be entitled to compensation if the business operator establishes the foundational elements: (1) the taking caused the loss, (2) the loss could not be prevented by relocation or other reasonable mitigation measures, (3) the loss is not includable as a reimbursable relocation expense, and (4 ) the loss does not duplicate other compensation being paid.  (Code Civ. Proc. §1263.510(a).)  As part of its affirmative duty to mitigate damages, a ...

Don’t Forget to Value Those Billboards in Condemnation!

When a public agency seeks to acquire property by eminent domain, the agency’s appraiser sometimes forgets to account for unique value attributes of the property. For example, the valuation may fail to take into account income the property generates from a billboard or a cell tower. According to an article on KCRA News, 'I think they are a bunch of thieves': Auburn couple decries Caltrans' eminent domain move, this situation is currently playing out in Northern California. …

When a business is taken as a result of a public improvement, the business is entitled to seek compensation for, among other things, loss of business goodwill. Typically, this loss is calculated by measuring the business’ before-condition value and comparing to its after-condition value.  This traditional methodology was the cornerstone for business goodwill appraisers to determine just compensation.  Yet late last year, the California Court of Appeal issued a ruling in People ex rel. Dep't of Transp. v. Presidio Performing Arts Found. (2016) 5 Cal. App.5th 190 which may have ...

Posted in Projects

At some time or another, most of us have experienced sitting in our cars at a railroad crossing waiting for what seems like the longest freight train in the world go by. And it always seems to happen when you’re late for an appointment or for once trying to make it home in time for dinner.  If you live or work in the San Gabriel Valley, sitting in traffic waiting for the freight-train to go by is likely a daily occurrence.

With vehicle and rail traffic projected to increase, in 1998, the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments (SGVCG) decided to do something about the safety and traffic ...

Because billboards are typically near public transit, they are routinely impacted by public projects such as street widenings, highway and freeway expansions, and grade separation projects.  When impacted, billboard companies may make claims for (i) the value of the billboard itself (fixtures and equipment), (ii) loss of business goodwill, and (iii) relocation expenses.  Usually the first two items can be addressed through a successful billboard relocation.  But when happens when a moratorium is in place prohibiting new billboards?  Does a moratorium on new billboards ...

Posted in Valuation

Most of us have been inconvenienced by road construction or other public works.  Streets can be more congested, exits closed, and traffic re-routed, making it more difficult to get to the restaurants, yogurt shops, book stores and other businesses we usually frequent.  Not surprisingly, these businesses often see their revenue decline while construction continues.  Does the public agency owe these businesses anything for these losses?

The short answer for most of the country is, usually not.  Courts generally consider construction-related inconvenience part and parcel of living ...

One issue that eminent domain attorneys face routinely involves helping businesses obtain the relocation benefits to which they are entitled under the law, while at the same time pursuing a claim for lost business goodwill.  To us, there is a clear difference between the two, as we are indoctrinated early in our careers into understanding that the two types of relief, while seemingly closely related, are instead largely unrelated in the eyes of the law.

But to a typical business owner facing a forced relocation due to a government acquisition, the issues can appear thorny and complex.  ...

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 Projects

According to an article in the Mercury News, Fremont may use eminent domain process to buy land needed for proposed downtown, the City of Fremont's City Council will be holding a public hearing on Tuesday to consider the adoption of a resolution of necessity to acquire a property for the Capitol Avenue Extension Project.  The impacted property is located at 39138 Fremont Blvd., and it consists of 65,150 square feet of land improved with a three-story building.

The Mercury News article indicates that the staff report supporting the adoption of the resolution of necessity provides ...

Posted in Court Decisions

California's loss of business goodwill statute, Code of Civil Procedure section 1263.510, provides that before a business can submit its goodwill claim to a jury in an eminent domain case, the business must first demonstrate that:

  • The loss is caused by the taking;
  • The loss cannot be prevented by relocation or other reasonable mitigation efforts; and
  • The loss will not be covered through another form of compensation, such as relocation benefits.

In late-2012, the California Court of Appeal issued a decision in People ex rel. Dept. of Transportation (Caltrans) v. Dry Canyon ...

Posted in Court Decisions

Eminent domain cases are unique in that the roles of the judge and the jury do not match the typical civil jury trial experience where the jury is the arbiter of fact and the judge decides the law.  In eminent domain, the judge still decides the law, but the role is larger, with the judge also deciding many issues of fact.  Drawing the line between the judge's role and the jury's has been a long-standing battle, with condemning agencies typically seeking an expansive role for the judge and condemnees seeking to place everything in the hands of the jury. 

The dispute centers around a deceptively ...

Posted in Court Decisions

One of the issues that arises with some frequency in eminent domain cases involves a debate over which parties may seek compensation for lost business goodwill.  In many cases, this is an easy discussion:  any business operating on the property at the time it is condemned generally has the right to seek compensation for lost goodwill. 

But sometimes, the situation becomes murky, and a decision this week by the Court of Appeals, Los Angeles Unified School Dist. v. Recovery Resource LLC, presents an interesting, twisted set of facts.  In Recovery Resource, LAUSD filed a condemnation action ...

Posted in Events

This Friday, May 11, International Right of Way Association Chapter 11 (San Diego) will be hosting a great program titled "Eminent Domain Seminar:  The Acquisition Process and Litigation Case Study."  If you want an update on recent developments in eminent domain, or if you've ever wondered what a relocation appeal hearing or a condemnation trial looks like, this seminar is for you.  There are a number of great speakers lined up for the full-day class.  

My colleague Rick Rayl and I will be going toe-to-toe in a mock trial on the valuation of a gas station and the loss of business ...

Posted in Events

If you've ever watched the show Shark Tank on ABC, you know that many individuals value their businesses much higher than their business' numbers suggest.  It's human nature:  you focus on the upside and tend to ignore the blemishes or risk areas.  As Kevin O'Leary -- "Mr. Wonderful" -- would say, the numbers tell the story, because it's all about the money. 

Mr. Wonderful's it's-all-about-the-numbers concept also holds true in the valuation of businesses in the eminent domain context:  the jury's task is supposed to be a sober inquiry into values, ignoring ...

Posted in Court Decisions

Over the past few years, we've seen California courts go in several different directions when it comes to admitting opinions on the value of a business' loss of goodwill in the context of an eminent domain action.  As a result, eminent domain attorneys, public agencies, and appraisers have been left shooting at somewhat of a moving target as to whether courts will be flexible on the admission of unique or unconventional goodwill opinions.  This week, the California Court of Appeal issued an unpublished decision, City of South Gate v. S&M Auto Sales, which, although not ...

We're looking back on 2011's wild ride and looking forward to the twists and turns still in front of us in 2012.  We've summarized all of this into the 2011 version of our annual Eminent Domain Year in Review piece.

For those who don't want to take the time to read the actual article, here are a few of the highlights:

  • In January, Governor Brown proposed eliminating redevelopment agencies.  In June, he finally got legislation to accomplish that goal.  In August, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a legal challenge to the new law.  And on December 29, the Supreme Court upheld the law dissolving ...
Posted in Court Decisions

Before a public agency can exercise the power of eminent domain, it must adopt a resolution of necessity making certain findings in support of the taking of property.  The resolution defines the scope of the agency's acquisition, and the agency is typically prevented from contradicting the terms of the resolution in the eminent domain action.

There is a delicate balancing-act in drafting the scope of the taking in the resolution.  If the scope is too narrow, the agency may ultimately need to go back and acquire additional rights or property.  On the other hand, if the scope is too broad, it ...

Posted in Projects

It is pretty common, at least in California, for a business being displaced by an eminent domain proceeding to seek compensation for loss of business goodwill.  But what happens when the "business" is a non-profit organization?

In Cathedral City, the city has plans to acquire a property on which a longstanding thrift store sits.  An August 17 article by Colin Atagi in The Desert Sun, Cathedral City plans may push Angel View move, opens:

A Cathedral City thrift store that's older than the community itself may relocate if the city acquires the property through eminent domain.

While the ...

Posted in Court Decisions

We've completed our analysis of the Galardi case and have some additional thoughts about the decision and its potential larger impact.

The real debate we've been having internally is whether Galardi can be read as signaling a change in the law concerning broadly worded waivers in condemnation clauses.  Many commercial leases contain broad waivers, skewed towards landowners.  Provisions such as "in the event of condemnation, tenant waives all rights to compensation" are not uncommon.  

Until now, even the broadest wavier imaginable has not affected the tenant's right ...

Posted in Court Decisions

When a business subject to a franchise agreement is condemned, questions often arise as to the allocation of proceeds between the franchisor and franchisee.  When the question involves payment for lost business goodwill, the courts have placed strict limits on the franchisor's ability to recover. 

In particular, courts have long held that a franchisor cannot make a claim for lost business goodwill because the franchisor fails one of the key entitlement prongs:  the franchisor does not operate a business on the property.  (See Redevelopment Agency v. International House of Pancakes ...

Posted in Possession

It's been a crazy couple weeks with the redevelopment saga continuing to play out in California.  But let's shift gears and take a breather – at least for a moment – while hundreds of redevelopment agencies continue to hang on for dear life.

I received a call today from a business owner who faced a potential eminent domain action, and the owner unforntuately did not take the appropriate steps to preserve goodwill and find a suitable relocation site.  The owner's difficult dilemma prompted me to mention an excellent article I came across a while ago from Martyn Daniel LLC

Posted in Court Decisions

Business goodwill appears to be a hot topic for the California Court of Appeal, as it was the primary issue in the recent LAUSD v. Casasola opinion, and is again the focus of an unpublished decision that came down last week, People Ex Rel. Department of Transportation v. Ahn.

In Ahn, Caltrans condemned a shopping center where Ahn owned and operated a framing store and art gallery.  After Caltrans took possession, the owner transferred to a relocation site.  At trial, Caltrans' goodwill expert determined the business had $26,000 of goodwill in the "before condition," and ...

Posted in Court Decisions

In Los Angeles Unified School District v. Casasola (Aug. 5, 2010), the Court of Appeal examined the interrelationship between recovery of lost business goodwill pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1263.510 and recovery of relocation expenses pursuant to Government Code section 7267 et seq. 

My colleague, Gale Conner, prepared a good summary of the Casasola case detailing the facts and the Court's reasoning.  The bottom line is that the Court held that items that might be recoverable under the Relocation Act cannot be included in a claim for loss of business ...

Posted in Events

For anyone looking to spend more time on eminent domain issues, there are two upcoming events you may want to consider. 

  • For those looking for a one-day commitment, I recommend the IRWA, Chapter 1 2010 Fall Education Seminar, which is taking place on October 26 at the Quiet Cannon in Montebello.  I don't have the full list of speakers yet, but it's always a good event, and my partner, David Graeler, is Chair again this year. I'll be talking about the interrelationship between goodwill and the Relocation Act, using the recent Casasola opinion as a jumping off point (look for a post about ...

The California Court of Appeal issued an interesting unpublished decision yesterday addressing a number of eminent domain issues, ranging from right to take challenges, entitlement to goodwill, severance damages, and jury instructions.  The case, City of San Luis Obispo v. Hanson, garnered enough attention that several third parties filed Amicus briefs with the Court.

By way of background, the City of San Luis Obispo decided to realign a road partly in order to accommodate a newly approved Costco development.  The realignment required right-of-way acquisition from a property ...

Posted in Redevelopment

With plans to demolish the old Carriage Square shopping center and rebuild it with a Lowe's, the City of Oxnard was on the verge of passing a resolution of necessity to acquire by eminent domain the leasehold interests of one of the few remaining tenants of the center.  However, according to an article by Scott Hadly, "Oxnard, credit union likely to avoid eminent domain clash," the City's threat of eminent domain appears to have resulted in a deal with that tenant, Pacific Oaks Credit Union.

In order to force the tenant to relocate and give up its rights under its lease, the City ...

Posted in Redevelopment

We've previously reported on the City of Vista's moving forward with the use of eminent domain to acquire the Riviera Motel and other properties in order to assemble property for an auto mall.  It appears that the eminent domain dispute has now reached a resolution, as the North County Times is reporting that Vista city council approved a settlement with the motel owner and another nearby property owner.

According to the article, "VISTA: City approves $3.2 million in property purchases," the Riviera Motel owner is receiving compensation of $1.65 million for the .71-acre ...

Posted in Projects

According to a San Diego Union Tribune article,"City ready to acquire land to widen Plaza Boulevard," National City has adopted resolutions of necessity in order to use eminent domain for the widening of a 1.1-mile stretch of Plaza Boulevard.  37 properties are impacted, although the City has reached agreements with a majority of the property owners.

The expansion project will widen Plaza Boulevard from four to six lanes between Highland Avenue and Euclid Avenue, including a section under the 805 freeway.  The City says widening its busiest commercial corridor will ...

Posted in Right to Take

2009 has come and gone.  With it, we moved one more year past 2005's Kelo decision -- and a lot closer to what those of us who have worked in eminent domain for many years consider "normal."  Massive eminent domain reform efforts seem -- for now -- to be a thing of the past.

The California Legislature passed no substantive changes to California's eminent domain law, and the closest we came to a marquee eminent domain case last year was probably the Marina Towers decision, which was much discussed, but does not represent any sweeping changes to California law.

Still, there were a few notable ...

Posted in Court Decisions

According to a January 10 post on the Fox Rothschild Eminent Domain & Real Estate Litigation Blog, the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hold a conference this week on whether to grant a Petition for Writ of Certiorari on an access-impairment claim arising from a condemnation case in Indiana, Kimco of Evansville, Inc. v. State of Indiana

Post author David Snyder explains that the need for Supreme Court review arises from a "general rule" in most states that damages arising from access impairments are not compensable as long as the owner is left with reasonable access, and the belief ...

Posted in Projects

San Bernardino currently has over a dozen overpass or underpass projects planned throughout the county.  Last month, officials had planned to move forward with condemnation proceedings for one such project, the $20 million Hunts Lane overpass located at the Colton-San Bernardino city line. 

But according to a Riverside Press-Enterprise article, "Hunts Lane overpass causes some concern," nearby property owners voiced concern over the railroad grade separation project's impacts to their businesses, such as blocking access and destroying visibility.  As a ...

Posted in Right to Take

So it's the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and I thought I should spend some time thinking about what I'm thankful for (apart from Cal's victory at Stanford last Saturday).  Here's a list of three things an eminent domain attorney can be thankful for:

1.   I Live in a Country With Eminent Domain.  I know, who spends time being thankful for eminent domain?  But think about it.  In many places, the government just takes property, paying nothing.  Even in this country, before it was this country, when the Pilgrims took land from existing Native American tribes just after inviting them over for a ...

Posted in Projects

When LifeChoices sought to expand its rehabilitation center in 2002, the City of San Jose rejected the proposal, citing its plans for a future Berryessa Bay Area Rapid Transit ("BART") station, which would require freeway interchange improvements on the property.  According to John Woolfolk's October 23 Mercury News article, "San Jose to pay $2 million to acquire parcel and settle lawsuit," five years later LifeChoices' owner, John Licking, filed suit, challenging the City of San Jose's denial as constituting discrimination against the disabled.

Now, San Jose has agreed to pay ...

Posted in Projects

According to Visalia Times Delta reporter Valerie Gibbons, in her October 20 article "Tulare County now wants 11 more parcels on Road 80," Tulare County is moving forward with condemnation plans for 11 properties in order to widen Road 80:

The county has been trying to acquire properties — many of which are in 40- to-60-foot-wide strips, and about a mile in length — since the beginning of 2008. Eighty-five other property owners along the route have reached sale-price settlements.

The widening project, designed to ease congestion between Dinuba and Visalia, has been planned ...

California Eminent Domain Report is a one-stop resource for everything new and noteworthy in eminent domain. We cover all aspects of eminent domain, 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 eminent domain conferences and seminars in the Western United States.

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