The field of condemnation law is specialized and narrow.  Without an active eminent domain practice or a sophisticated acquisition staff, it can be difficult—if not impossible—for a public entity attorney to avoid the most common pitfalls.  It is the purpose of this blog to share my  17  years of expertise and experience in eminent domain law to help inform the practitioner and acquisition staff about eminent domain issues which may be less than obvious. With a framework for understanding the specialized issues of condemnation law, I hope to empower every right-of-way professional to know how best to proceed when they’re facing an eminent domain issue.

Recent Posts

Offsite Public Improvements As A Map Condition And Developer-City Acquisition Agreements

Oftentimes, an offsite acquisition is required to construct a public improvement required by the city as a condition of a subdivider’s development project, and the offsite improvement is not complete when the subdivider files a final map for approval.  For…

How to Approach Closing Costs

Closing costs are fees–including escrow and title fees–associated with the purchase of real property that are paid at the close of escrow.  In typical arms-length transactions, both sellers and buyers are responsible for paying some amount of the closing costs. …

Admissions of Value in Cost Studies and Budget Reports

During the precondemnation process, public agency staff may be asked to make written estimates of the value of properties that are needed for an upcoming project.  Similarly, a budget for a proposed project may call for such estimates.  Often these…

Limits on the Right to Take

There are many common and not-so-common situations where a public entity may not have the power of eminent domain.  These include: Property sought is outside the public entity’s territorial limits. Staff might propose to acquire property outside the public entity’s…

Practice Tip to Avoid the Potential for Precondemnation Damages

This is a practice tip to avoid the potential for precondemnation damages.  In all project documents, refer to future land acquisitions in noncommittal, tentative, conditional language. Examples: “The proposed acquisition” “The acquisition under staff consideration” “The recommended acquisition” “No decision…

Pitfalls Arising From Tardy Involvement of Public Entity Counsel in an Eminent Domain Action

Public entity counsel should become involved early in the planning stage of the project.  If this does not occur, the ability of public entity counsel to acquire a needed parcel at fair market value could be compromised by the time…

Upcoming Events

Alan is a frequent speaker and presenter at meetings, professional conferences, and other forums on topics related to eminent domain. Below are upcoming events where he will be speaking.

There are no upcoming events.

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