Generally, if utilities with the right of eminent domain cause damage to private property during the operation of their facilities, they may face inverse condemnation liability. However, where the facility in question is not operating for the “public use” and instead was installed pursuant to a private contract, inverse condemnation may be inapplicable. …
Some easements will contain express language that delineates the respective rights of the grantor and grantee to make use of the easement. Other times, even absent express language, a grantor can be prevented from using an easement if such use would unreasonably interfere with the rights of the easement holder. For further discussion of an example when express easement language is not needed to limit the use of the easement by the grantor, check out our prior post entitled “Utilities Have the Right to Remove Trees Within an Easement.” ….
We’ve previously reported on Senate Bill 917, which was introduced on February 3, 2020, by Senator Wiener (D-San Francisco) to establish a process for a potential government takeover of investor-owned electrical, gas and water corporations. While the stated intention of the bill was to facilitate an eminent domain acquisition of PG&E by the state government, its wording goes much further. Additionally, on April 3, a series of amendments were introduced that would potentially significantly change the burden of proof on a municipalization takeover effort.
Specifically, the ...
On November 27, 2019, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali issued a Memorandum Decision on Inverse Condemnation (“Memorandum Decision”) in PG&E Corporation and Pacific Gas & Electric’s (together, “PG&E”) Chapter 11 Bankruptcy proceeding in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California (Case No. 19-30088). PG&E challenged the application of the doctrine of inverse condemnation in connection with the 2015, 2017, and 2018 California wildfires. In the Memorandum Decision, Judge Montali ruled against PG&E and instead concluded that the doctrine ...
As we have written about in past posts, the issue of inverse condemnation remains on the forefront in the state given the continuing, severe wildfire risks and other climate change impacts. Brad Kuhn was recently quoted in the Wall Street Journal in “PG&E Isn’t Alone in Facing Liability Risk Over California Fires,” addressing liability associated with inverse condemnation. Willis Hon also commented on the current legislative situation in an E&E News EnergyWire article: “Legal 'whipsaw' threatens PG&E's future.” If you’re interested in potential legislative ...
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 ...
In January, I spoke at a conference in Austin about efforts by municipalities to condemn privately-held utility companies. At the time, I figured it would be a one-off presentation on a pretty niche issue, even for eminent domain attorneys. But next month, I'll be speaking on a variation of that topic at CLE International's 2016 Eminent Domain Conference in Las Vegas, a presentation that will be the third time this year I've spoken on the topic.
In fact, we've been following this issue since at least 2014, when my partner Brad Kuhn wrote about a takeover effort involving PG&E. Those ...
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 ...
A new published California court of appeal decision may be important for private utility companies with respect to the valuation of their possessory interests in public rights-of-way for property tax assessment purposes. The case, Charter Communications Properties v. County of San Luis Obispo, provides that when assessing the fair market value of a utility's possessory interest, the County tax assessor will likely be able to disregard the utility's agreed-upon remaining term of possession and instead assume a much longer anticipated term of possession to match reality. This ...
Yesterday, I chaired the International Right of Way Association Chapter 67 (Orange County) spring seminar, focused on the interrelationship between renewable energy, right-of-way acquisitions, and eminent domain. It was a great success. For those of you who were in attendance -- or for those of you that missed the seminar but would like a recap -- all of the speakers were generous enough to allow us to make their presentations available.
- Dave Kilpatrick's presentation, titled "Energy Independence -- the Impossible Dream?" [PDF], focused on our nation's overall ...
On May 11, Chapter 67 of the IRWA (Orange County) is hosting a half-day seminar focused on the interrelationship between renewable energy, right-of-way acquisitions, and eminent domain. If tying renewable energy to eminent domain sounds like a bit of a stretch, you apparently haven't been following all the recent news about the struggle to entitle and build renewable energy projects. Just yesterday, the White House Blog featured a profile on federal energy policies entitled Building a New Foundation for Energy and the Environment.
Between the project facility itself and the ...
Earlier this year, Nossaman sent out an E-Alert providing a status update on the use of federal stimulus dollars for California infrastructure projects. Here on the blog, we've also recently reported on water-related property rights issues grabbing news headlines. A recent Mojave Water Agency project -- backed by federal stimulus dollars -- ties the two topics together.
According to a recent Victorville Daily Press article, "MWA uses eminent domain on land: Property is needed for R-Cubed project," the Mojave Water Agency is using eminent domain to acquire land ...
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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