Posts from 2012
Posted in Court Decisions

The Court has once again reminded us that it takes its role as gate keeper seriously.  This week, in an unpublished case, the Court of Appeal issued a decision that serves as a not-so-gentle reminder that business owners are entitled to loss of business goodwill only if they meet the four threshold requirements set forth in CCP § 1263.510: (1) the loss is caused by the taking, (2) the loss cannot be prevented by relocation of the business or taking steps a reasonably prudent person would take to preserve goodwill, (3) compensation was not paid through relocation funds, and (4) the ...

Posted in Court Decisions

One of the prerequisites to instituting an eminent domain action is the governing agency's adoption of a resolution of necessity to acquire the necessary property.  At the time of adopting the resolution, the agency cannot be precommitted to moving forward with the condemnation.  In other words, the resolution hearing cannot simply be a "rubber-stamped," predetermined result.  

While it has happened, it is a very difficult, uphill battle for a property owner to prove that the government agency was precommitted to the taking at the time of the resolution hearing.  The agency can -- and ...

Posted in Court Decisions

After passing on a number of Fifth Amendment issues in recent history, the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear three cases this term in which the takings clause plays a prominent role.  And today, the Court addressed the first of these three cases, holding that a temporary-flooding can result in a taking requiring just compensation under the Fifth Amendment.  

In Arkansas Game and Fish Commission v. United States, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission argued that a temporary but reoccurring flooding of its property resulted in a taking requiring just compensation.  The ...

Posted in Court Decisions

A couple of weeks ago, the California Court of Appeal issued a decision that discussed an attorney malpractice lawsuit known as a settle and sue case, where the client settles whatever litigation in which they are embroiled, then turns around and immediately sues their attorney. (Filbin v. Fitzgerald, 2012 WL 5857331). Incidentally, that malpractice action stemmed from an eminent domain case, and if you're interested in it, there's some good lessons to be learned about the Final Offer/Final Demand procedures. 

But this post isn’t about that case -- or "settle and sue" ...

Posted in Court Decisions

Eminent domain cases are unique in that the roles of the judge and the jury do not match the typical civil jury trial experience where the jury is the arbiter of fact and the judge decides the law.  In eminent domain, the judge still decides the law, but the role is larger, with the judge also deciding many issues of fact.  Drawing the line between the judge's role and the jury's has been a long-standing battle, with condemning agencies typically seeking an expansive role for the judge and condemnees seeking to place everything in the hands of the jury. 

The dispute centers around a deceptively ...

Posted in Court Decisions

When I was a child, a long long time ago, I learned the importance of paying attention to detail.  While I will not bore you with the details of my adolescence and the shenanigans that forced my parents to drive home this message, I will tell you that I certainly learned to always cross my T's and dot my I's.  Late last week, the California Court of Appeal issued an unpublished decision in Compton Unified School District v. Hassan, Case No. B233412, prohibiting an after-the-fact challenge to a condemnation order issued almost two years prior, largely on the ...

Posted in Court Decisions

Those don't quite sound like the lyrics to the early-90's popular Ace of Base hit, "The Sign."  But they likely describe the situation of many travelers on the I-10 freeway in Los Angeles thanks to a recent California Court of Appeal decision denying a property owner's inverse condemnation action, and upholding Caltrans' required removal of an 8,000 square foot "wallscape" advertising space on the 155 West Washington Boulevard building.  

In West Washington Properties v. California Department of Transportation, a property owner filed an action against Caltrans seeking to (1 ...

Posted in Events

Ever since we started this blog, one of the big topics we've touched on repeatedly deals with public agencies running into issues when trying to secure possession of property for right of way projects.  Whether it's due to project funding constraints, federal oversight demands, construction contract deadlines, project timing requirements, or difficulties dealing with impacted property and business owners, agencies are routinely pressed with stressful deadlines to start building their projects.  Would you like to know what pitfalls to look out for and how to avoid them?  ...

Earlier this week, I spent a day in Los Angeles at a seminar involving regulatory takings issues.  It featured a great panel of speakers on a variety of takings, eminent domain, and land use issues.  (In fairness, you should view my characterization of the panel's quality with some skepticism; I was Co-Chair of the seminar and therefore played a large role in assembling the panel.)

There were a number of quality take-aways from the day, but a few stood out for me. 

  1. Mark Alpert of Hart, King & Coldren spoke on a number of regulatory takings issues, focusing in particular on the ...
Posted in Court Decisions

While most lawsuits typically start with the filing of a complaint, eminent domain cases really start one key step earlier, with the condemning agency’s adoption of a Resolution of Necessity.  The Resolution establishes (i) the agency’s right to take the property and (ii) the scope of the acquisition.  In order to adopt a Resolution, the agency must make a set of findings, including finding that [t]he proposed Project is planned and located in the manner that will be most compatible with the greatest public good and the least private injury.  In Council of San Benito 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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