Posts tagged Supreme Court.
Posted in Court Decisions

The California Supreme Court announced today that the Property Reserve case will be heard on May 3, 2016, at 9:00 a.m. in San Francisco.  (I'm assuming this is not an April Fool's joke, since eminent domain attorneys have been awaiting this for a long time now.)

The Court will decide whether California's precondemnation right of entry statutes are constitutional.  As has been discussed at length for more than a year in our industry, the decision could effect sweeping changes in how condemning agencies access properties for necessary inspections and testing.  We posted a detailed ...

Last week, Jeremy Jacobs posted an interesting article about the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Horne v. Dep’t of AgricultureNo. 14-275 (U.S. Jun. 22, 2015), and its potential application to Endangered Species Act (ESA) jurisprudence.  (See Raisin ruling seen as lifeline for endangered species, published by Greenwire on August 19, 2015).  In Horne, the U.S. Supreme Court held, in an 8-1 decision, that the forced appropriation of a portion of a farmer’s raisin crop qualified as a clear physical taking requiring compensation under the Fifth Amendment to ...

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 ...

The burning question, is why?  While this is not the first time the U.S. Supreme Court has ever granted a petition for review in the same case, it is certainly not common.  And, it is downright uncommon for the Supreme Court to grant a second petition for review when the central issue in the case is a takings issue.  So what is the Supreme Court planning to do?  Are they going to revisit their 2013 decision and find that they made a mistake, and that the Hornes are actually required to first bring their takings claim in the Court of Federal Claims?  Or, is the Supreme Court ...

Posted in Court Decisions

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 ...

Posted in Court Decisions

In the latest in a string of recent U.S. Supreme Court cases that impact right of way issues, on Monday the Court issued its opinion in Marvin M. Brandt Revocable Trust v. United States (Case No. 12-1173, March 10, 2014).  The issue in Brandt involved whether the U.S. Government retained a reversionary interest in the easements it granted to railroads pursuant to the General Railroad Right-of-Way Act of 1875. 

The decision would impact, in particular, the "rails-to-trails" program, designed to convert old, abandoned railroad rights of way to bike trails.  Under the program, the ...

Posted in Court Decisions

In August, I reported on the decision in City of Perris v. Stamper, in which the Court of Appeal weighed in on the ever-shifting line dividing the judge and jury's roles in eminent domain cases. At the time, I poked a bit of fun at a former colleague,Rick Friess, who won the appeal but was still complaining that the Court didn't see everything exactly his way.

Well, it appears that my good friend hasn't quite given up yet. Last week, the California Supreme Court decided to hear the case, meaning Rick will have one more crack at his dedication argument. The Supreme Court is limiting its review to ...

Posted in Court Decisions

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 StatesHorne 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 StatesThe 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 ...

Posted in Court Decisions

In our niche practice of eminent domain, inverse condemnation, and regulatory takings, the blogosphere world is going bonkers.  Why?  Because the United State Supreme Court just issued its decision in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Mgmt District, No. 11-1447 (cert. granted Oct. 5, 2012), holding that the "essential nexus" and "rough proportionality" standards that apply to the government's attempt to exact land in exchange for a land use permit similarly apply to the government's attempt to demand monetary exactions.  This isn't necessarily shocking news for those of us ...

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 ...

Posted in Events

For those of you who attended the joint meeting today between Chapter 1 of the International Right of Way Association and the Appraisal Institute, we promised to post a cheat sheet that reminds you about the cases associated with our cleverly crafted slides.  (For those of you who did not attend, you missed a great event, and will be punished by likely having no idea what we're talking about below.)

As promised, here is the recap of our case slides, each of which started with:

Where We Learned . . .

  1. "That the Court can’t exclude appraisers simply because the judge thinks they are full of crap":  ...

As we previewed in our recent "year in review" piece, the U.S. Supreme Court has some takings issues before it this term.  One case, Koontz v. St. John's River Water Management District, took center stage yesterday. 

At issue in the case is whether the the "nexus" and "proportionality" tests that we have all come to know in the context of real property dedications also apply to other efforts to impose exactions relative to property-development efforts. 

The case presents a new branch on the tree that arises from cases such as 1987's Nollan v. California Coastal Commission, in which ...

Posted in Redevelopment

After our webinar on the California Supreme Court's decision in California Redevelopment Assn. v. Matosantos, we've received a number of requests for the materials both by folks who attended and those who missed the event.  We've got you covered:  you can find our Power Point slides here.  But we can do even better:  you can find the entire recording of the webinar here.

Let us know your thoughts.  And, if you have any follow-up questions, feel free to give us a call or shoot us an e-mail. 

Yesterday, we reported briefly on the Supreme Court’s decision in California Redevelopment Assn. v. Matosantos.  As many of you undoubtedly know by now, the outcome was the nightmare redevelopment agencies feared most, but that many (including us) had forecast after listening to oral argument last month. 

The Court upheld ABX1 26, allowing the dissolution of California’s redevelopment agencies to proceed, but struck down ABX1 27, the voluntary buy back program that would have allowed redevelopment to continue.  In particular:

  • The Court had little difficulty upholding ABX1 ...

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 ...
Posted in Redevelopment

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments yesterday in California Redevelopment Assn. v. Matosantos, the action filed by the California Redevelopment Association, League of California Cities and others challenging the constitutionality of ABX1 26 and ABX1 27.  Based upon their questions it appeared that the Justices were satisfied that ABX1 26, the bill abolishing redevelopment agencies, passes constitutional muster.  However, ABX1 27, the bill allowing for their reinstatement by the making of  voluntary payments, seemed to be on much shakier grounds.  The ...

Posted in Redevelopment

Last Friday I spoke at the CLE Eminent Domain Conference in San Francisco.  The topic of my talk was "The Death And Possible Rebirth of Redevelopment in California."  I spoke on the current state of limbo in which redevelopment agencies find themselves as a result of the passage of ABX1 26 and ABX1 27 and the ensuing lawsuit challenging their constitutionality.  While I mentioned that the California Supreme Court would be hearing arguments on November 10th, I neglected to mention how to access the webcast of the proceedings.  For those interested in watching the arguments, direct ...

Posted in Court Decisions

When we think of some of the most well-recognized and controversial decisions from our judicial system, cases like Roe v. Wade (abortion) and Dred Scott v. Sandford (slavery) come to mind.  Within our group of right of way professionals, we obviously think Kelo v. City of New London is a huge deal, as it allows for the use of eminent domain for purely economic purposes.  But does it rank up there with the others?  It does, according to US Supreme Court Justice Scalia.

According to an ABA Journal article, Justice Scalia was recently speaking to a group of students at Chicago-Kent School of Law ...

Posted in Redevelopment

Most of us in the right of way profession are following closely the redevelopment lawsuit pending before the California Supreme Court.  The decision could have widespread implications.  So, to keep you fully informed, here's another quick update.

Yesterday, the California Supreme Court announced it will hear oral argument from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Thursday, November 10, 2011.  For those of you up north who are keen on seeing the event in person, oral argument will be taking place at the Supreme Court Courtroom, Earl Warren Building, Fourth Floor, 350 McAllister Street, San ...

Posted in Redevelopment

I wanted to provide a quick update on what is going on in the lawsuits involving ABX1 26 and ABX1 27.  For those trying to keep score on who stands where, the following is a list of the amicus briefs that have been filed. 

In support of the CRA / League of Cities' position, seeking to overturn the laws:

  • Association of California Cities - Orange
  • City of Irvine
  • Long Beach
  • Public Interest Law Western Center
  • San Bernardino County
  • Southern California Coalition
  • Southern California Non Profit Housing
  • Riverside County

In support of the State's position, seeking to uphold the laws:

  • Affordable Housing ...
Posted in Redevelopment

As probably everyone following this blog already knows, redevelopment is under attack in California.  While some might assume the attack flows from continued outrage over the Supreme Court's Kelo decision, the reality is actually quite different.  Here in California, the driving force is not moral outrage, but budgetary crisis. 

As I learned earlier this week at the IRWA Chapter 67 lunch meeting, Governor Brown's plan to eliminate redevelopment is not part of some long-planned effort.  According to a presentation by one of my partners, Gale Connor, when now Governor Brown was ...

We'll have more soon, but I wanted to report quickly that the California Supreme Court announced today that will assert jurisdiction over the CRA's lawsuit involving the constitutionality of AB 26 X1 and AB 27 X1, the bills involving the dismantling of California's redevelopment agencies. 

The Court also announced a partial stay of the legislation while it considers the case.  A news release by the Judicial Council of California describes the scope of the Court's stay as follows:

The court allowed the first statute [the one that eliminates redevelopment agencies] to remain in effect ...

Posted in Court Decisions

When dealing with regulatory takings claims, we've covered in the past the maze of procedural landmines that await a property owner.  We've once gone so far as to describe it as resembling "Alice's trip through Wonderland, with the parties falling in and out of state and then federal court (instead of a rabbit hole) based on procedural and substantive rules that often seem as logical as the Mad Hatter's recitals at the Tea Party."  Could one of those major obstacles disappear, allowing land owners a more direct shot at a regulatory takings claim in federal court?  The US Supreme Court could ...

Posted in Court Decisions

We've been following the Ninth Circuit Guggenheim case for more than a year.  That Court's change in its holding between the initial decision by a three-judge panel and the subsequent en banc decision, coupled with the considerable attention the decision received, led many to think the case was ripe for Supreme Court review. 

Today, we learned that the Supreme Court denied the owner's Petition for Writ of Certiorari, meaning the en banc Court's decision will stand.  (As a reminder, that opinion held that the City of Goleta's rent control ordinance did not constitute a taking, despite the ...

Posted in Court Decisions

We thought it was over in 2009 when the Ninth Circuit held that the City of Goleta's rent control ordinance constituted a taking.

We thought it was over in late 2010 when an en banc Ninth Circuit panel ruled the other way, holding that the property owner failed to establish the "investment-backed expectations" necessary to establish a takings claim under Penn Central.

Now, we're not sure if it's ever going to be over.  Apparently, Dan Guggenheim has decided to seek review by the U.S. Supreme Court, so there may yet be more drama for the long-playing battle between the Guggenheims and the ...

Posted in Court Decisions

Earlier this year, we reported on the decision in Ridgewater Associates, Inc. v. Dublin San Ramon Services District.  There, the Court of Appeal rejected an inverse condemnation claim by a purchaser of a property that suffered water intrusion damage caused by an adjacent waste water treatment facility. 

The court held that the seller's failure to assign the inverse condemnation claim to the buyer, coupled with the fact that the buyer was "compensated" for any damages through payment of a reduced purchase price, left the buyer with no standing to sue in inverse condemnation. 

The buyer ...

Posted in Court Decisions

The Stop the Beach Renourishment, Inc. v. Florida Department of Environmental Protection case received considerable attention both before the Supreme Court agreed to hear it, and following the very colorful oral argument before the Court last December. 

At issue was whether Florida's efforts to restore some of its beaches through depositing 75-feet of sand seaward of the high-tide line rose to the level of a taking due to the restoration work's causing former beach-front owners' property lines to be moved further away from the ocean water.  

What made the case even ...

Posted in Right to Take

I'm a California eminent domain attorney.  I work in Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, etc.  I don't work in Utah.  I'm not even licensed in Utah.  Why, then, would I bother to blog about what is going on with eminent domain in Utah?

Quite frankly, because it amuses me.  The Utah Senate has now approved a law that authorizes the state to condemn property from the federal government.  You may wonder how can a state give itself the power to condemn property from the federal government.  The answer:  it probably can't --and Utah knows it.  

According to a ...

Posted in Court Decisions

Last week, I reported on Kimco of Evansville, Inc. v. State of Indiana, an access-impairment case pending for consideration by the U.S. Supreme Court.   

In an order earlier today, the Court denied the Petition for Writ of Certiorari.  This is not entirely surprising; in the same order in which the Court denied the Petition in the Kimco case, the Court also denied similar petitions in 175 other cases.  The Supreme Court grants Petitions in less than five percent of the cases presented to it.  

The Court still has pending before it another eminent domain case, Stop the Beach ...

Posted in Court Decisions

According to a January 10 post on the Fox Rothschild Eminent Domain & Real Estate Litigation Blog, the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hold a conference this week on whether to grant a Petition for Writ of Certiorari on an access-impairment claim arising from a condemnation case in Indiana, Kimco of Evansville, Inc. v. State of Indiana

Post author David Snyder explains that the need for Supreme Court review arises from a "general rule" in most states that damages arising from access impairments are not compensable as long as the owner is left with reasonable access, and the belief ...

One of the big eminent domain stories of the last few weeks involved the oral argument at the U.S. Supreme Court in the Florida beach case.  That case involves whether a government program to add sand to parts of the Florida coastline, creating new public beaches in front of private property that had been beach front constitutes a taking.  For more information about that case, see my December 15 article, "Erosion Control, or Coney Island South?" published in the Los Angeles Daily Journal. 

Now, two other water-related takings issues are making news.  The first, as reported December 14 by ...

A year or so ago, I attended a three-day symposium on regulatory takings that was held at Stanford University. At the end of the symposium, the final panel of speakers was asked to predict what the United States Supreme Court might be doing in the area of takings over the next couple of years. The answer of at least one panelist was essentially nothing. In his view (at least as I understood it), the Supreme Court had been grappling with various takings issues for years without coming up with particularly workable formulas and was done trying.

Well, based on an article in the Los Angeles Times ...

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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