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July 14th, 2016 — In Articles

North Carolina Supreme Court Holds Map Act Unconstitutional

In an important victory for property owners, the North Carolina Supreme Court recently held that key provisions of the state’s Map Act are unconstitutional. As a result of the Court’s ruling June 10, 2016, affected property owners will be entitled to just compensation for the state’s regulatory taking of their properties. Additionally, landowners throughout the state may seek just compensation in the event that the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) prevents them from improving their land in order to reserve property for future roadway development projects.

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June 30th, 2016 — In Articles

Glossary: Eminent Domain Terminology

If a government agency (or a utility or other private company acting with the government’s authority to use the power of eminent domain) is attempting to take your property, it is critical to make sure that you understand your rights under the law of eminent domain. For most people, this starts with familiarizing yourself with the basic terminology involved. To help you get started, we have prepared a glossary of some of the key terms.

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June 29th, 2016 — In Articles

OCA Files Amicus Brief In Support of Property Owners in NC “Public Trust Doctrine” Case

Along our country’s shores, a historical legal principle known as the “public trust doctrine” allows members of the public to access the beach beyond either the mean high or low water mark, even where this section of the beach (as well as the land above the water mark) is private property. This is the law in most states; and, until recently, it was clear that the public trust doctrine did not – and was not intended to –provide local governments the authority to interfere with landowners’ rights in the “dry sand” areas of their private property.

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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). 

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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.

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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.  

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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.

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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.) 

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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. 

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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.

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