Like the vast majority of general civil litigation, eminent domain matters usually settle before going to trial. The resolution is typically documented in either a stipulated judgment or a settlement agreement. What is unique to eminent domain, however, is that the settlements oftentimes take place before the public project is fully constructed, meaning the parties are resolving their claims based on the "project as proposed," without seeing the actual finished product or fully understanding its impacts on the property. In documenting a settlement, property owners can ...
Shortly before an eminent domain trial, a government agency and a property owner exchange a statutory final offer and final demand. The statute’s sole purpose is to encourage settlement before trial, providing a carrot (to the property owner) and a stick (to the condemning agency).
If the matter fails to settle before trial, the owner can seek an award of litigation expenses (i.e., attorneys’ fees and expert costs) if the court ultimately determines that, in light of the outcome, the agency’s final offer was unreasonable and the owner’s final demand was reasonable. (See ...
Last week, we give a brief overview of the new published California Court of Appeal decision in City of Gardena v. Rikuo Corporation (Feb. 7, 2011). For anyone interested in a more detailed explanation of the City of Gardena case, you can read our E-Alert, "Court Dismisses Appeal Arising From Stipulated Eminent Domain Judgment."
The case is probably worth a read for all of us in the right-of-way industry, as the decision serves as an important reminder for public agencies and property owners to carefully document eminent domain settlements, especially where additional actions ...
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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