April 1st is an important milestone in California’s water year – marking the annual snowpack assessment and related drought determination. In the inaugural issue of Nossaman’s California Water Views – 2023 Outlook, our attorneys and policy advisors who are committed to the water sector identify the pivotal issues they’re watching now and for the year ahead.
Of particular interest to our readers, Brad Kuhn and Jillian Friess Leivas examine whether or not public agencies could face inverse condemnation liability for any flooding-related damages due to the recent storm ...
With all the recent storms in California, private property is bound to suffer impacts from storm water runoff, landslides, erosion and subsidence. Understanding whether the government bears responsibility for such damage is a complex and fact-specific analysis. However, a recent court of appeal decision, Shenson v. County of Contra Costa (2023 Cal. App. LEXIS 244), provides an excellent history on liability in these circumstances, and explains when natural watercourses, drainage improvements, and a public agency’s approval of development can trigger inverse ...
Rosamond Community Services District (“RCSD”) recently approved the adoption of a resolution of necessity and filed a case to acquire water rights from agricultural land by eminent domain. After the adoption of the Resolution of Necessity, Antelope Valley Water Master granted the RCSD with a 999 acre-foot permanent water pumping allotment, in addition to a one-time pumping allotment of 5,000 acre-feet. These allotments significantly changed RCSD’s water acquisition needs and eliminated the need for eminent domain to be used.
While it is not uncommon for a public ...
As water becomes scarcer in California, public agencies are looking for new sources and opportunities to provide water to their communities. When the government identifies those water sources but confronts unwilling sellers, eminent domain sometimes becomes necessary. This is currently taking place in the Antelope Valley, where the Rosamond Community Services District recently approved the adoption of a resolution of necessity to acquire water rights from agricultural land by eminent domain.
The District is facing shortages in its future water supplies and it is limited in ...
On April 21, 2021, I will be participating in the sixth annual International Right of Way Association (IRWA) Chapter 57 and Southern California Chapter of the Appraisal Institute's (SCCAI) Virtual Joint Meeting. I will be a co-presenter discussing "Project Benefits - Do They Ever Apply, and If So, How Are Benefits Supported?" during which we will cover project benefits and their significance in the eminent domain arena. This program will also include:
- The statutory and case law landscape that gives rise to the issue of project benefits, when and how they may apply and methods and ...
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 ...
One of the hot issues in eminent domain these days involves the government's efforts to take over privately-run utility companies. The argument typically is that the government -- which has no profit-making motive -- can run the utility at a lower cost, saving the ratepayers money. Not surprisingly, the utility companies feel otherwise.
In California, one of the first cases to reach trial on this issue is about to wrap up. The City of Claremont sought to condemn the Golden State Water Company's assets, and Golden State fought the City's right to take.
In a Court trial (i.e., a trial ...
On February 27, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed (pdf) the dismissal of a Fifth Amendment takings claim based on the finding that the claim was "not ripe." The claim is unusual because it arose in the context of the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Casitas Municipal Water District (Casitas) has a contract with the federal Bureau of Reclamation and a license with the State of California authorizing it to divert water for the Ventura River Project (Project). The contract with the Bureau of Reclamation states that Casitas ...
As recently reported by Jason Plautz at E&E in his article "Bipartisan lawmakers seek $13.8B for infrastructure improvements," members of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee are discussing a potential bipartisan bill that would provide approximately $13.8 billion in funding for wastewater infrastructure projects, and several billion in alternative financing for clean water infrastructure projects.
According to the draft bill summary, the bill would "create thousands of new, domestic jobs in the construction and wastewater-support sectors through ...
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently issued an interesting opinion which addresses the question of whether or not a government agency's application of the Endangered Species Act can trigger a property owner's Fifth Amendment Takings Claim.
My colleague Ben Rubin has a more detailed post about the case, Klamath Irrigation District v. United States, on our firm's Endangered Species Law and Policy Blog. More generally, the Klamath Irrigation District case analyzes whether the US Bureau of Reclamation's decision to reduce water delivery to farmers ...
According to an article on Recordnet.com, "Water fight goes to court," San Joaquin County water officials are planning to use their eminent domain powers to take thousands of acres of ranch land for a proposed reservoir. Officials say the project -- called MORE WATER -- is needed to satisfy the County's growing population and to reduce dependence on wells which are depleting the groundwater supply.
The County recently filed a lawsuit in order to gain access to the ranchers' property to conduct surveys and drill test holes. 14 of the 16 landowners have granted the County ...
Sorry you haven't seen a post from me in a few weeks. My wife and I just had our first child (a future super star eminent domain attorney, of course), and I've been on "dad duty." My colleague Rick Rayl has been holding down the blog fort, although upon my return I see he's been blogging about things such as Canadian companies and mining rights in Nevada. Now that I'm back, how about some California eminent domain news?
A decision this week by the California Court of Appeal holds that a purchaser of property suffering damages through government conduct may not sue for inverse condemnation where:
- The buyer knowingly purchases property impacted by a government taking, and
- The purchase price reflects the property’s condition in light of the government impacts.
In Ridgewater Associates, Inc. v. Dublin San Ramon Services District (May 11, 2010) __ Cal.App.4th __, it was largely undisputed that the District's waste water treatment facility caused water intrusion damage on a neighboring warehouse ...
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 ...
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 ...
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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