Posts tagged Public Utilities.
The Role of a Trial Court in Cases Featuring Concurrent Inverse Condemnation and Tort Claims

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 ...

Watch On Demand! Eminent Domain in 2020: A Year in Review

While nobody could have anticipated the challenges of 2020, the right-of-way industry worked through difficult issues to move critical infrastructure projects forward. On February 11, 2021, our Eminent Domain & Valuation Group presented “Eminent Domain in 2020: A Year in Review,” during which we discussed decisions in key cases and trends from California and around the country that will continue to impact the right-of-way industry going forward. If you were not able to attend the live session, we invite you to watch the on-demand presentation at your convenience. 

Posted in Court Decisions
A Public Utility May Not Qualify as a “Public Utility”

The Refugio Oil Spill in 2015 resulted in not only impacts to a highly diverse stretch of California’s coast, but also years of associated litigation. In a recent California Court of Appeal opinion, State Lands Commission v. Plains Pipeline, L.P., No. B295632 (Nov. 19, 2020), the court held that the judicial doctrine establishing that public utilities do not owe the public a duty to provide their services continuously and without interruption did not apply to Plains Pipeline, L.P. and its affiliates (collectively, “Plains Pipeline”) on the ground that despite being a public ...

Posted in New Legislation
California Adopts Statutory Backstop Legislation as PG&E Emerges from Bankruptcy

On June 30, 2020, Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 350 (“SB 350”), which is intended to serve as a backstop for customers as Pacific Gas and Electric Company (“PG&E”) completes its restructuring process and begins implementing the reorganization plan recently confirmed by the United States Bankruptcy Court. The bill, named the Golden State Energy Act, gives the State authority to take certain actions if PG&E does not comply with the terms of its reorganization plan.

SB 350 establishes a new entity named Golden State Energy (“GSE”) to serve as a nonprofit public ...

Posted in Right of Way
Navigating COVID-19 for the Right of Way Industry

COVID-19 has undoubtedly upended the world, including the way we do business and the future of our economy. We have received a number of questions and concerns from clients in the right of way industry on how the current pandemic affects the way we do business, and what to expect going forward. Please read on for links to helpful resources...

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 ...

California to Finally Tackle Inverse Condemnation Reform for Wildfires?

In Governor Gavin Newsom’s first State of the State address, he called for the creation of a strike force charged with developing a comprehensive strategy to address the destabilizing effect of catastrophic wildfires on the State.  On April 12, 2019, Governor Newsom announced the results of that dedicated effort, in the form of a report titled Wildfires and Climate Change: California’s Energy Future (Strike Force Report).  Governor Newsom also summarized the findings of the Strike Force Report in a press conference that can be viewed here.

The Strike Force Report first sets out ...

Posted in New Legislation

On August 31, 2018, the California Legislature passed Senate Bill (SB) 901, which addresses a number of wildfire-related items relating to public utilities.  Governor Brown signed the Bill into law on September 21, 2018.

While the bill introduces a series of new changes, it is particularly noteworthy for what it does not include from Governor Brown’s initial June 2018 proposal for wildfire liability reform.  At least for the time being, lawmakers abandoned the most controversial aspect of Governor Brown’s proposal for the bill: modifying California's strict liability ...

Posted in Court Decisions

On August 30, 2012, the Second Appellate District of the California Court of Appeal held that a privately owned utility could be subject to strict liability for inverse condemnation, thereby concurring with a similar holding previously reached out of the Fourth Appellate District.

A typical inverse condemnation action is initiated when a property owner files a complaint essentially asserting that a government agency is trying to take its property without filing a formal eminent domain action.  Typical inverse condemnation claims involve ...

Posted in Projects

Sorry you haven't seen a post from me in a few weeks.  My wife and I just had our first child (a future super star eminent domain attorney, of course), and I've been on "dad duty."  My colleague Rick Rayl has been holding down the blog fort, although upon my return I see he's been blogging about things such as Canadian companies and mining rights in Nevada.  Now that I'm back, how about some California eminent domain news?

In the article "Sanitation Company Eyes Country Club Property," Tehachapi News is reporting that the Brite Canyon Resource Recovery (a division of the Golden ...

After a flurry of post-Kelo activity, cries for eminent domain reform seem to have quieted in California in the past couple of years.  Now, public utility companies are seeking to step into the calm in an effort to roll back some of the reforms that did occur.

One of the recent changes to California eminent domain law involves the procedures for obtaining prejudgment possession.  Before Kelo, agencies could almost guarantee possession quickly.  In fact, they could obtain orders for possession ex parte, meaning they didn't even have to provide owners with notice that they were seeking ...

One of the oddities of California's public utility system is that private companies own and operate many of them, yet they behave very much like governmental entities, especially when it comes to eminent domain.  Major examples include Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric ("PG&E"); both are private companies functioning as public utilities, delivering electricity to their constituents, and both are overseen by the Public Utilities Commission

Occasionally, an actual governmental entity will seek to replace the private utility company.  Such is the case ...

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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