In response to my earlier post on the Pombo decision, I was asked whether complying with the decision to avoid an award of litigation expenses would expose the agency to an illegal gift of public funds claim.
This is an issue that arises with some frequency with public agencies, where people are understandably -- and appropriately -- sensitive to claims that they have misused taxpayer money. In particular, people worry about making an "illegal gift of public funds." This principle arises from the idea that taxpayer money must be used for public purposes; the government cannot simply ...
In California eminent domain cases (this is an area in which the law varies dramatically from state to state), the property / business owner is entitled to an award of litigation expenses (including attorneys' fees) if (1) it makes a reasonable final demand for compensation and (2) the agency makes an unreasonable final offer of compensation. (See Code Civ. Proc. § 1250.410.)
How one analyzes "reasonableness" once the jury issues its verdict has been the subject of a number of court opinions. Tracy Joint Unified School Distract v. Pombo (Oct. 29, 2010) adds to that body of law.
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