As an eminent domain attorney, when I think about a "takings" claim, I always think about a claim involving someone's real property. Has the government trespassed onto private property, has it imposed regulations that deny the owner an economically viable use of the property, etc.? But every once in a while, we get a reminder that "takings" do not always involve real property. Rather, any private "property" may be taken.
Thus, we get cases like last month's U.S. Supreme Court decision in Horne v. Dept. of Agriculture. There, the government sought to force raisin growers to turn over a ...
Last week, the Court of Appeal issued a decision that may be one of the ones we look back on as among the most significant of 2014 (at least in the world of eminent domain). For years (and certainly for the entire 20 years I've been doing this), public agencies have utilized a statutory "right of entry" procedure to gain access to private property to conduct investigations and testing before deciding whether to move forward with a condemnation action. (See Code of Civil Procedure section 1245.010 et seq.) Often, this happens during the CEQA process, as agencies try to assess the ...
The Supreme Court is apparently not done with its recent interest in takings decisions. Following the decisions in Arkansas Game and Fish Commission v. United States, Horne v. Department of Agriculture, and Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Mgmt District, the Supreme Court announced today that it will hear another takings case, Marvin M. Brandt Irrevocable Trust v. United States. The Supreme Court's blog describes the issue in Brandt as follows:
Whether the United States retained an implied reversionary interest in rights-of-way created by the General Railroad Right-of-Way Act of ...
Over the past several months, the United States Supreme Court and the California Courts of Appeal have issued several significant regulatory takings opinions addressing the liability of government agencies for enacting regulations or otherwise conditioning proposed developments. To really dig into these opinions and their importance, Law Seminars International will be putting on a one-hour telebriefing, Regulatory Takings Claims In California, on August 19 at 1 p.m. (PST). I will be moderating the discussion with two other outstanding regulatory takings attorneys: Robert ...
This week, the Supreme Court issued the second of its three takings decision for this term. In Horne v. Department of Agriculture, No. 12-123 (June 10, 2013), the Court reversed an earlier decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, holding that California raisin handlers could assert a takings claim as a defense to an enforcement action over alleged non-compliance with a raisin regulatory scheme.
At first glance, the case appears to be of little consquence. The factual background is quite unique, and the holding is pretty narrowly drawn to those specific ...
We have two big IRWA events coming up.
IRWA Annual Education Conference
The biggest conference of the year, the IRWA Education Conference, starts June 23 in Charleston, West Virginia. As always, there will be many great education sessions with strong panels of speakers. There are also some fun social events and -- on Sunday and Monday -- an exhibition hall.
Nossaman will be holding down the fort in Booth 305A, trying to keep the troublemakers next to us in line. Yes, OPC, I'm talking about you.
I will be there with my colleagues Ben Rubin, the incoming President for Chapter 67 in Orange ...
We've talked in the past about just how hard it is to state a regulatory takings claim under the Supreme Court's decision in Penn Central Transportation Co. v. New York City, 438 U.S. 104. I'd go through the test and how hard it is again, but it's complicated, a lot of work and, quite frankly, I'm a bit tired today. So here's my lazy approach. Read one of our earlier posts on the subject:
- Sometimes Regulatory Takings Do Exist Under Penn Central;
- Takings Claims and the Morass that Surrounds Them; or
- Major Regulatory Takings Case Reversed by Ninth Circuit.
The bottom line is that the courts have ...
Over the past several months, we've been following some of the recent takings cases that have made their way up to the United States Supreme Court. So where do things currently stand? As you've likely heard, the Court issued its decision in Arkansas Game & Fish Commission v. United States (see our summary here); we're waiting for a decision after oral argument in Koontz v. St. John's River Management District (see our summary here); and just this week, the Court heard oral argument in Horne v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.
If you're looking for an excellent summary of the Horne oral argument ...
This underwater mortgage / eminent domain issue does not appear to be going away any time soon. Along with eminent domain attorneys Robert Thomas from Hawaii, Casey Pipes from Alabama, and Tom Olsen from New Jersey, I spoke last Friday at the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago -- one of the cities apparently considering the plan. The presentation itself did not focus on the underwater mortgage plan, but many of the questions at the end did. Indeed, the issue generated more buzz in the room, by far, than any other.
This week, the news is that the Federal Housing Finance Agency ("FHFA") has ...
A few odds and ends for our readers:
- New Federal Eminent Domain Legislation: According to the Eminent Domain Law Blog, two Senators have introduced a new bill, Protection of Homes, Small Businesses, and Private Property Act of 2012. This, again, you may ask? What ever happened with HR 1433, the Private Property Rights Protection Act of 2011? HR 1433 appears to be dying a slow death, but the new 2012 bill seeks to pick up the slack. In particular, it is targeted at the same issue: preventing the federal government from using its eminent domain power and state and local ...
Here's some news making headlines this week in the eminent domain community:
- The Base Year Transfer Rule Under Threat of Eminent Domain: A new published California Court of Appeal decision -- Duea v. County of San Diego -- came out yesterday addressing whether a property owner can transfer their base year value to a replacement property when the owner sells its property to a private developer under threat of eminent domain. The Court held that the owner had some procedural missteps which doomed the case, but also went on to hold that this type of transfer does not qualify for a base year ...
Here's a quick update about some recent headlines in our eminent domain community.
- Eminent Domain for New School in Foster City? According to a Mercury News article, Charter Square owners resistant to selling property to school district, the San Mateo-Foster City School District is looking for a site for a new school, and it may turn to eminent domain to acquire the Charter Square Shopping Center. Moving forward with the new school depends on the passage of a $130 million bond measure in June. If it goes forward, more than a dozen businesses will need to be relocated.
- Orinda to Condemn ...
Last week, we sent out a blog post with a number of quick updates on right-of-way-related issues making headlines across California. Rick thought it would be a cool idea if we made this type of post a weekly habit, so here it goes (and, if it doesn't work or happen every week, obviously blame Rick):
- City of Visalia Can't Negotiate With Property Owner: Here's an interesting story. According to an article in the Visalia-Delta Times, "Visalia moves to take land near St. Johns," the City of Visalia is using eminent domain to acquire property necessary for a walking trail. So what makes ...
Here's a few updates on eminent domain-related issues taking place in California this week:
- City of Covina Condemnation: According to an article in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Covina using eminent domain to take property from Alhassen-controlled company, the City of Covina has filed an eminent domain action to acquire a vacant, half-acre property owned by West Covina-based developer Ziad Alhassen. The City intends to utilize the property for parking for police department employees and County firefighters. The condemnation action was necessary after the City and the owner ...
Today, the California Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated opinion in California Redevelopment Assn. v. Matosantos, the case challenging ABX1 26 and ABX1 27. In a decision foreshadowed by the tone of last month's oral argument, the Court upheld ABX1 26, but struck down ABX1 27 as a violation of California's Proposition 22:
- "Assembly Bill 1X 26, the dissolution measure, is a proper exercise of the legislative power vested in the Legislature by the state Constitution."
- "A different conclusion is required with respect to Assembly Bill 1X 27, the measure conditioning further ...
Yesterday, we wrote about the Avenida San Juan Partnership v. City of San Clemente decision. For more information on the decision, see the following:
- Man Bites Dog! California Property Owner Wins Regulatory Taking Case in the California Court of Appeal, a blog post by Gideon Kanner on Gideon's Trumpet;
- Either Reverse Your Unconstitutional Spot Zoning, Or Pay. Your Choice, by Robert Thomas on his inversecondemnation.com blog; and
- Eminent Domain: Winning Owner In Inverse Condemnation Battle Cannot Recoup Fees By Attorney Owner Or Reap A Fee Multiplier Request, a piece in ...
Want the scoop on what future challenges local government agencies face with respect to eminent domain and redevelopment? Want to hear from some of the most well-recognized eminent domain attorneys across the nation? Want to get some CLE credit? Want to get all your questions answered? Want to do it all from your desk, in a short one-and-a-half hour presentation?
Come join us on Thursday, December 1, at 10 a.m. (PST) for the online seminar, "Eminent Domain: Redevelopment Challenges for Local Government, Navigating Federal Funding Requirements, Challenges for Public ...
We've covered in the past regulatory takings claims and the benchmark three-prong Penn Central test for analyzing potential liability. We've also noted the issues involved in consistently applying those factors, and the resulting unpredictibility in evaluating the merits of potential regulatory takings claims.
William Wade, Ph.D., a resource economist with the firm Energy and Water Economics, often writes about these issues, offering clearly articulated potential solutions to dealing with these Penn Central issues. And Mr. Wade has done it again, as his recent ...
Six years ago, the US Supreme Court issued its landmark decision in Kelo v. City of New London, affirming the government's ability to exercise eminent domain for purely economic purposes. The public backlash and media firestorm surrounding the decision turned our quirky group of eminent domain attorneys into rock stars for a short moment in time. Ms. Kelo's battle was put to print in Jeff Benedict's Little Pink House: A True Story of Defiance and Courage, and it now appears the infamous case is making its way to your television.
According to a Hartford Courant article
It's not often a film comes out dealing with eminent domain issues. You may remember when Avatar came out, my partner Rick Rayl and our esteemed colleague Gideon Kanner had a nice back-and-forth spar about whether the film had anything to do with eminent domain. (Rick ended up buying Professor Kanner a movie ticket in the hopes of changing his mind.)
Well, there can be no dispute about the eminent domain context in the recent documentary "Battle for Brooklyn," which follows a man's fight to save his Atlantic Yards neighborhood from condemnation for the New Jersey Nets' new basketball ...
As originally reported by Robert Thomas at inversecondemnation.com, a petition for certiorari was filed asking the U.S. Supreme Court to address "[w]hat category of takings are subject to heightened judicial scrutiny, and when is the risk of undetected favoritism so acute that an exercise of eminent domain can be presumed invalid?" While Justice Kennedy brought this issue to the national stage when he raised the possibility of such conduct in a recent concurrence, as of today, and likely tomorrow, the question remains unanswered.
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 ...
I read a really interesting blog post by Robert Thomas, 10th Cir: Landowner Not "Prevailing Party" Even Though They "Won $3.8 Million -- Much More Than The Government Ever Offered Them". It describes a recent 10th Circuit decision that denied the property owner an attorneys' fees award where (1) the property was valued at trial at $3.8 million and (2) the government's offer was a mere $186,500. What caught my attention was the mechanism by which the federal courts award fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA), as compared to the fee-shifting rules in California.
Under the EAJA ...
We've been following the Guggenheim case for more than a year now, and in the last week or so, there have been a number of developments. As a quick recap, this decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the City of Goleta's rent control ordinance - which had the effect of transferring the vast majority of a mobile home park's value from the park owner to the tenants - did not constitute a taking. The decision followed an earlier decision by a different panel of the same court, in which the court held that the ordinance did qualify as a taking.
Not surprisingly, the owner then sought ...
For those who didn't get enough of littoral property rights, accretion, and avulsion in reading about this summer's Supreme Court decision in Stop the Beach Renourishment, Inc. v. Florida Department of Environmental Protection, there is a new case making its way through the system.
In Maunalua Bay Beach Ohana 28 v. State of Hawaii, the court analyzed a 2003 Hawaii law that had the effect of transferring ownership of property created by accretion to the state. In a split decision, the Hawaii Court of Appeal held in 2009 that with respect to property that existed at the time the law went ...
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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