In California eminent domain cases, appraisers typically have relatively wide latitude in determining fair market value for the property to be acquired. However, there are certain rules they must follow, and when an appraiser violates those rules, the appraiser’s opinion may be completely stricken, leaving a property owner or a public agency with no valuation evidence. This is precisely what happened in a new unpublished California Court of Appeal decision, Solano Transportation Authority v. Anderson (2021 Cal.App. Unpub. LEXIS 2129), where the property owners’ ...
It is Christmas in July for eminent domain practitioners! We have a California Supreme Court opinion on a condemnation case, which is rare. The case, Weiss v. People ex rel. Department of Transportation (2020 Cal. LEXIS 4357), is an inverse condemnation action where the main question is this: Can you make a Code of Civil Procedure Section 1260.040 motion, also known as a Legal Issues Motion, in an inverse condemnation action? According to the Supreme Court, the answer is no, these motions are meant to address valuation issues in eminent domain actions -- not determine liability in an ...
Eminent domain actions are unique in that "the court, rather than the jury, typically decides questions concerning the preconditions to recovery of a particular type of compensation, even if the determination turns on contested issues of fact." (See Emeryville Redevelopment Agency v. Harcros Pigments, Inc. (2002) 101 Cal.App.4th 1083, 1116.) This is consistent with the general rule in eminent domain that the jury’s role is only to determine the amount of damages, leaving other questions to be resolved by the Court. While these factual disputes are typically decided by the judge ...
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