In eminent domain cases, it is uncommon that right to take challenges are upheld, and when they are, it is typically a procedural deficiency that can be cured. It is even more unusual where a right to take challenge is successful based on the condemning entity not possessing the power of eminent domain. But, that is exactly what recently happened with an eminent domain case in Northern California involving a popular excursion train – the Skunk Train. ...
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) exceeded its authority when it imposed a national eviction moratorium. More precisely, in Alabama Association of Realtors v. Department of Health and Human Services, the Court agreed with a district court determination that the CDC acted unlawfully in banning evictions of residential tenants who declare financial need in counties with high COVID-19 rates. In its decision, the Supreme Court concluded, “If a federally imposed eviction moratorium is to continue, Congress must ...
For those of you who missed our recent webinar, "Living on the Edge: Managing Sea Level Rise in California", you can find a recording of the event posted on our website. My colleagues Ben Rubin and John Erskine provided a great overview of ways to protect existing infrastructure and private property through coastal resiliency, what the models and data are suggesting on the future of sea level rise and the status of pending sea level rise legislation in California. I covered risks and possible solutions for public agencies and property owners, with a focus on how Coastal Commission and ...
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 ...
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’ ...
On April 21, 2021, I will be participating in the sixth annual International Right of Way Association (IRWA) Chapter 57 and Southern California Chapter of the Appraisal Institute's (SCCAI) Virtual Joint Meeting. I will be a co-presenter discussing "Project Benefits - Do They Ever Apply, and If So, How Are Benefits Supported?" during which we will cover project benefits and their significance in the eminent domain arena. This program will also include:
- The statutory and case law landscape that gives rise to the issue of project benefits, when and how they may apply and methods and ...
Typically, when a public agency acquires property by eminent domain, it names all potentially interested parties in the condemnation action. This includes the property owner, any easement holders, lien holders and usually businesses as well. If the agency does not name all interested parties, anyone with an interest may still appear in the action. Or if the party does not appear, it could potentially file a subsequent inverse condemnation action for the taking of its property interest (which could expose the agency to attorneys’ fees -- hence the importance of naming all ...
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 ...
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 ...
When a public agency is acquiring private property for a public project, typically the key issue in dispute is how much the agency should pay -- what is “just compensation”? Determining the property’s value and any damages from the acquisition or public project is usually based on appraisals prepared for the public agency and property owner. A recent article written by Lauren Alexander, on behalf of the Owners' Counsel of America (a network of experienced eminent domain attorneys dedicated to defending the rights of private property owners across the US), highlights the top 10 ...
When a property owner commits to developing property in a certain manner, including providing a certain number of parking spaces, and the local government agency enforces the owner’s failure to comply, does the enforcement result in a taking? As expected, the answer is no -- there is no taking. This was the outcome of a recent court of appeal decision, 3558 Sagunto St. v. County of Santa Barbara (2020 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 5328).
In 3558 Sagunto St., a property owner owned two adjacent parcels, and submitted a development plan which designated a certain number of parking ...
We routinely get calls from owners facing impacts to their property or business as a result of construction of a public project or changes in adjacent public streets. For example, the city or county may close a road, create a cul-de-sac, turn a two-way street into a one-way street, close a driveway, relocate an off-ramp, or change a road’s elevation. When there is no physical taking of property, do these public improvements trigger a taking entitling an owner to compensation? It is a tricky, heavily fact-intensive inquiry, but generally, the analysis centers around whether the ...
With the recent government mandates surrounding COVID-19, many businesses are completely shut down and are legally unable to open their doors to the public. Are those businesses -- movie theaters, gyms, retail stores, etc. -- entitled to compensation for a regulatory taking? Similarly, landlords are experiencing massive losses as those tenants are unable to make rental payments; are those losses compensable? Should governments worry about liability when issuing orders requiring the closure of businesses?
While compensation arguably should be paid from a decency and “good ...
Welcome to the first installment of our video series from Nossaman’s 2019 Eminent Domain Seminars. In this segment, Nossaman Partner Rick Rayl discusses the initial appraisal process and benefits of a strong appraisal.
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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