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Eminent Domain and Inverse Condemnation

The authority to take land is a weighty responsibility that can put public entities at the mercy of many unpredictable variables (public skepticism and labyrinthine regulations are just the beginning). The end result of these unpredictable variables can be a cost that is much higher than anticipated or even merited. Our experience and our stellar reputation help ensure this doesn’t happen to you.

We have represented almost 50 public entities in eminent domain matters, and nearly as many in eminent domain litigation. We know that each eminent domain matter is a unique and complex circumstance. We believe these matters can be satisfactorily and fairly concluded by our team of experts and our thoughtful approach.

Representative Experience

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority v. LRW Century Investments, LLC (Wally Park).  Meyers Nave represented LACMTA in an eminent domain case involving the acquisition of a Wally Park parking lot and business on Century Blvd. in the City of Los Angeles. The acquisition was necessary for the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor Project. LACMTA’s real estate appraiser valued the property taken at $10,445,000, with no severance damages. LACMTA’s business goodwill appraiser valued Wally Park’s business goodwill at $0. Wally Park’s real estate appraiser valued the property taken at $10,445,000, with $8,197,382 in severance damages. Wally Park’s business goodwill appraiser valued its business goodwill at $31,200,000. Meyers Nave was able to exclude significant parts of Wally Park’s real estate analysis and business goodwill analysis at trial. As a result, LACMTA successfully settled the case for $10,445,000 for the value of the property taken; “0” for severance damages; and $3,000,000 for loss of business goodwill.

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) v. PPF Industrial, et al. In a case raising complex questions on valuation of “improvements pertaining to the realty,” as well as unique relocation and goodwill issues, Meyers Nave overcame the bloated appraisals from a business owner, saving the transit district over $4 million. A medical device sterilization business sought $9.85 million in eminent domain just compensation from BART. As a result of motions in limine, that amount was reduced to $9.4 million. The jury awarded the business only $5.4 million, forcing it to return $400,000 to BART from the agency’s pretrial deposit—a rare occurrence in eminent domain disputes.

Stanislaus County v. McGrane. The County needed to acquire a 3.21-acre portion of agricultural land from a 57-acre parcel for a road-widening project. The landowners sought $385,000 for the part taken, plus $3,500,000 in severance damages for alleged damage to the remainder parcel. The County’s appraiser valued the part taken at $241,000, with $0 in severance damages. The jury awarded Meyers Nave’s client $288,900 for the value of the part taken and $0 in severance.

City of Sacramento v. CalPERS, U.S. Bank.  The City of Sacramento retained Meyers Nave as lead counsel in an eminent domain case to acquire a former Macy’s site in downtown Sacramento for the Sacramento Kings (NBA professional sports franchise) new arena. This was a highly publicized and contentious case. The defendants included CalPERS (fee owner of the property, represented by Downey Brand) and US Bank (ground lessee and owner of certain parking improvements, represented by Miller Starr). US Bank asserted numerous right to take objections and vigorously opposed the City’s motion for prejudgment possession. The City prevailed against all challenges. On the question of compensation, the City’s total appraised value was $6.3 million. CalPERS sought $12.85 million, and US Bank sought $21.75 million, for a total of $34.6 million. Ultimately, after the City prevailed on its motion for prejudgment possession and all right to take objections, CalPERS and US Bank agreed to accept the City’s offer of $12 million.