With the frequency of wildfires and flooding, landslides are becoming more frequent throughout California. When public agencies have water pipelines located in hillsides, the situation presents the classic “chicken or egg” debate: (1) did the soil movement cause the pipe to displace and leak water, thereby causing the landslide, or (2) did the pipe leak water independently, thereby causing the landslide? Answering this question addresses one of the key factors for liability for inverse condemnation and other real property causes of action: causation. …
Earlier this year in City of Livermore v. Baca, the California Court of Appeal held that as long as an expert can identify damages arising from a taking or public project, those damages likely will not qualify as speculative, and they can be presented to a jury in an eminent domain action. Did this broad holding turn upside down traditional rules of admissibility and recovery of damages, or did it just affirm existing law? And how will courts apply Baca in the future? Two recently issued unpublished appellate decisions may help guide the way.
The Superior Coatings Decision
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