News & Resources
June 13th, 2016 — In News & Events
Eminent Domain Attorneys with Owners’ Counsel of America Earn CRE® Designation
The Owners’ Counsel of America wishes to congratulate eminent domain attorneys Joseph P. Suntum of Maryland and William G. Blake of Nebraska who were recently awarded the CRE® designation from the Counselors of Real Estate®. A Counselor of Real Estate (CRE) provides intelligent, unbiased real estate advice that achieves the best results for a client or employer. Joe and Bill join the more than 1,100 CREs worldwide, including 5 other OCA attorney-members (Casey Pipes – Alabama, Jack Sperber – Colorado, Dwight Merriam – Connecticut, Anthony DellaPelle – New Jersey, and Michael Rikon – New York).
June 7th, 2016 — In Articles
California Court Rules that Obstructing a Private View Does Not Amount to Inverse Condemnation
A recent case out of the California Court of Appeal illustrates two important aspects of the law of inverse condemnation in The Golden State. Inverse condemnation involves the government appropriating private property rights without adhering to the Constitutional and legal requirements for the exercise of eminent domain (including payment of just compensation). You can read more about the differences between eminent domain (also referred to as “condemnation”) and inverse condemnation here.
May 25th, 2016 — In Articles
Owners’ Counsel of America Files Amici Brief with The Cato Institute in SCOTUS Property Rights Case
On January 15, 2016, the Supreme Court of the United States announced that it will hear the regulatory takings case of Murr v. Wisconsin, No. 15-214, an appeal out of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. Wisconsin’s intermediate court ruled that a property owner’s separate but adjacent parcels should be considered as a single property for purposes of determining if an uncompensated taking has occurred, despite the fact that doing so substantially deprived the owner of the value of one of the independent parcels. Owners’ Counsel of America (OCA) and The Cato Institute (Cato) are asking the Supreme Court to reach a different conclusion.
May 10th, 2016 — In Articles
Department of Energy Moves Forward With First-Of-Its-Kind Exercise of Authority While Bill to Protect Property Owners Remains Pending
Last year, Representative Steve Womack (R-AR) and Senator John Boozman (R-AR) proposed matching versions of the Assuring Private Property Rights Over Vast Access to Land Act (the “APPROVAL Act”) in the House and Senate. The APPROVAL Act would limit the U.S. Department of Energy’s authority under Section 1222 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 by requiring approval from a state’s governor and public service commission for any Section 1222 energy transmission project before the federal government may use the power of eminent domain to take private property.
May 3rd, 2016 — In News & Events
California Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument Today in Important Eminent Domain Case
Beginning at 9:00 AM (Pacfic) today, the California Supreme Court will live-stream oral arguments in an important eminent domain and property rights case, Property Reserve, Inc. v. Superior Court, case number S217738. This is the case in which the Third District Court of Appeal held that a request made by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) to enter private property to undertake geological and environmental activities such as boring holes and installing permanent structures were not the “innocuous” or “superficial” activities permitted under California’s “entry statute.” (See our previous post here.) The Court of Appeal found that the level of intrusion on private property requested by DWR would be a taking, and that in order to undertake those activities, the DWR must follow eminent domain procedures. OCA together with the the National Federation of IndependentBusiness (NFIB) Small Business Legal Center filed an amici curiae brief in support of Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta property and business owners who objected to the DWR’s proposed testing and pre-condemnation activities. (The OCA-NFIB brief is linked below.)
April 29th, 2016 — In News & Events
OCA Members Anthony DellaPelle & Edward McKirdy Honored Among Top 100 New Jersey Super Lawyers for 2016
Owners’ Counsel of America wishes to congratulate OCA Members Anthony F. DellaPelle and Edward D. McKirdy, partners with McKirdy & Riskin, PA, on the honor of being included in the Top 100 2016 New Jersey Super Lawyers, a distinction both have earned annually since 2009. Anthony DellaPelle is the New Jersey member of Owners’ Counsel of America (OCA) and serves on OCA’s Board of Directors. Edward McKirdy is an Emeritus Member of OCA, having represented the State of New Jersey for over a decade in OCA’s nationwide eminent domain lawyer network.
April 25th, 2016 — In Articles
Two Judges Approve Use of Eminent Domain for New Jersey Dunes
As we have previously discussed, beachfront property owners in New Jersey are currently in a battle with the state’s Department of Environmental Protection over the department’s efforts to condemn portions of their property for a beach-widening and dune-building project along the New Jersey shore. While the Department of Environmental Protection asserts that the project is necessary to protect the shore from future storms similar to 2012’s Hurricane Sandy, the property owners counter that there are better alternatives available. They also assert – among other arguments – that the Department of Environmental Protection has refused to offer just compensation for its exercise of eminent domain.
April 18th, 2016 — In Articles
Property Owners Entitled to Just Compensation for Intentional Flooding of Their Land
In some inverse condemnation cases (in which the government takes private property without properly exercising its power of eminent domain), the taking involves some sort of constructive use, such as the building of a road, sidewalk, utility infrastructure or park. These uses are most often intended to be permanent – and whether the taking involves a transfer of ownership or establishment of an easement or right-of-way, the private landowner loses some or all of his or her property rights for good. But, what happens when the government comes onto private property, temporarily floods it, and then leaves? Does this constitute a taking requiring payment of just compensation? The U.S. Supreme Court thought so 2012, and a California appellate court recently agreed.
April 12th, 2016 — In News & Events
Eminent Domain Film, Battle For Brooklyn, to be Screened at Jacksonville Documentary Film Festival
“Nobody’s gonna remember how long it took. They’re only gonna look and see that it was done.” – New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, on the use of eminent domain to build the Barclays Center sports arena and mixed-use development in Brooklyn While attending an eminent domain CLE In 2011, we previewed a “rough cut” of a documentary film chronicling the story of Brooklyn property owner, Daniel Goldstein, and his neighbors as they struggled to save their homes, businesses and community in the heart of Brooklyn from being taken by eminent domain for the Atlantic Yards Project, a massive real estate development project including 16 skyscrapers and a basketball arena for the New Jersey Nets. This award winning film, Battle for Brooklyn, made the Academy Awards Shortlist for Best Documentary in 2012 and will be screened at the Jacksonville Documentary Film Festival, Sunday, April 17, 2016 at 1:00 PM at Sun-Ray Cinema. About the Film BATTLE for BROOKLYN “Battle for Brooklyn” is a close-range look at a community’s seven-year fight to stop the use of eminent domain to take their homes and businesses for the construction of a mixed-use development including a basketball arena for the New Jersey Nets and commercial towers. The film is a compelling story about the abuse of eminent domain and how this awesome power intended for the public good can destroy a community The film follows Daniel Goldstein, a property owner turned activist, whose apartment sits at what would be center court of the new arena. He is dragged into the fight because he simply can not believe that the […]
April 11th, 2016 — In Articles
The Government is on My Property. What are My Rights?
As a United States citizen, the U.S. Constitution, federal laws and the Constitution and laws of your state protect you against government intrusion upon your private property. While the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution establishes that government authorities may use the power of eminent domain to take private property, the Fifth Amendment limits the power of eminent domain by requiring that the taking of private property be for a public purpose and that just compensation is paid to the property owner. Additionally, condemning agencies must follow specific procedures or steps when exercising the power of eminent domain. While these procedures vary from state to state, there are some basic steps which we discussed in a previous post here (discussing the differences between eminent domain and inverse condemnation). What if the government simply takes your property? While this may sound far-fetched, if it has happened to you, you know all too well that government agencies do not always play by the rules. In this situation, private property owners can defend their rights through a type of legal action known as “inverse condemnation.”