Posts from 2010
Posted in Projects

According to an article in the Press Democrat, "City moves toward eminent domain for Hwy. 101 interchange," the City of Petaluma is contemplating the use of eminent domain to acquire property necessary for the Highway 101-East Washington interchange expansion.  

The impacted parcels include the land behind the Raley's shopping center, the K-mart center, and vacant land owned by Regency ...

Posted in Projects

The site selection process for a new school is typically a difficult one, as large acreage is usually needed in the middle of a populated area.  When these two factors are combined, eminent domain often follows.  

According to a recent article in the Fresno Bee, "Fresno Unified moves ahead on southeast elementary school," this is precisely the situation faced by the Fresno Unified School District as it proceeds with building its new $20 million southeast elementary school.  The District needs 8.43 acres, requiring the acquisition of 20 different parcels from 17 different owners.  In ...

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 Projects

According to an article in the Valley News, "Riverside public hearing to consider eminent domain for bridge on Iowa Ave.," the Riverside City Council is contemplating using eminent domain to complete the Iowa Grade Separation Project

In order to (1) build the 500-foot long bridge over railroad tracks on Iowa Avenue and (2) construct necessary northbound and southbound ramps, the Project requires the acquisition of portions of seven properties on Iowa Avenue between Palmyrita Avenue and Spring Street.

The City has already begun negotiations with the owners ...

Posted in Projects

I live in Orange County.  Every time I contemplate a trip to San Diego, I run the calculations: 

  • How bad is the I-5 freeway going to be;
  • How badly do I need to be in San Diego; and
  • Can I find a way to extend/change my schedule to avoid the worst of the traffic? 

Granted, I engage in the same internal debate when I need to head towards Los Angeles, but at least going that direction, I have a number of route choices.  Going to San Diego, it's basically the I-5 or stay home. 

Caltrans is in the midst of a major planning process for possible expansion of the I-5 between La Jolla and Oceanside.  The public ...

Posted in Court Decisions

This never would have happened five years ago.  A small game company is advertising its latest offering, Eminent Domain, a card game based on the colonization of various planets.

It's hard to imagine a game called "Eminent Domain" before the 2005 Kelo decision made the phrase ubiquitous in American conversation.  Heck, I'm an eminent domain attorney and I'm not convinced I had a clear understanding of what eminent domain was when I graduated from law school.

More interestingly, the title has generated a somewhat heated debate among gamers as to whether the game's true purpose is ...

In an all-too-familiar tale these days, a redevelopment agency is seeking to acquire property as part of its efforts to alleviate blighted conditions in the city, and owners are reacting strongly to the agency's plans to utilize the power of eminent domain where owners are reluctant to sell. 

According to a November 5 article in the Signal Tribune, "Property owners condemn Signal Hill RDA’s use of eminent domain," the situation in Signal Hill pushes all the buttons on both sides of the issue:

  1. The redevelopment agency touts numerous successful projects, including converting ...
Posted in Court Decisions

In response to my earlier post on the Pombo decision, I was asked whether complying with the decision to avoid an award of litigation expenses would expose the agency to an illegal gift of public funds claim. 

This is an issue that arises with some frequency with public agencies, where people are understandably -- and appropriately -- sensitive to claims that they have misused taxpayer money.  In particular, people worry about making an "illegal gift of public funds."  This principle arises from the idea that taxpayer money must be used for public purposes; the government cannot simply ...

Posted in Court Decisions

In California eminent domain cases (this is an area in which the law varies dramatically from state to state), the property / business owner is entitled to an award of litigation expenses (including attorneys' fees) if (1) it makes a reasonable final demand for compensation and (2) the agency makes an unreasonable final offer of compensation.  (See Code Civ. Proc. § 1250.410.)

How one analyzes "reasonableness" once the jury issues its verdict has been the subject of a number of court opinions.  Tracy Joint Unified School Distract v. Pombo (Oct. 29, 2010) adds to that body of law. 

In ...

Posted in Projects

According to an article on, "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 ...

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 United States.

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