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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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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.

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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 […]

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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.”

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April 7th, 2016 — In News & Events

2016 Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conference to be Held at The Hague; Hernando de Soto to Receive Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Prize

The William & Mary Property Rights Project recently announced that Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto, president of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy (ILD), will receive the 2016 Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Prize at the 13th annual Brigham-Kanner Property Rights conference October 2016.  The Property Rights Project also announced its cooperation with the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies of Leiden Law School and plans to host this years event in The Hague.  

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March 28th, 2016 — In Articles

Understanding the Tax Consequences of Condemnation

                      When a government agency or other entity with the power of eminent domain acquires or condemns private property, the private owner is entitled to “just compensation” for the value of the property taken. This compensation – or at least the majority of it – is essentially paid as the purchase price for the condemned property. Eminent domain involves the transfer of real estate title in exchange for the payment of compensation which the Internal Revenue Code (the “Code”) generally treats as an ordinary taxable sale of property.

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March 22nd, 2016 — In News & Events

OCA Condemnation Lawyer Michael Rikon Earns Prestigious CRE® Designation

The Owners’ Counsel of America is pleased to announce that Manhattan eminent domain lawyer Michael Rikon, the New York representative to OCA, recently received a CRE® designation from the Counselors of Real Estate®. Mr. Rikon, a partner at Manhattan-based Goldstein, Rikon, Rikon & Houghton, P.C, has practiced law in New York since his admission to the Bar in 1969.  Of the more than 1,100 CREs worldwide, Mike is one of the approximately 50 who are practicing attorneys. Mike Rikon entered private practice in 1980 and has since focused his practice on representing private property owners in eminent domain and real estate matters across New York state. Goldstein, Rikon, Rikon & Houghton, P.C limits its practice to eminent domain and condemnation law assisting landowners throughout the state of New York. Mike frequently lectures on topics related to eminent domain, just compensation and property rights. His articles on condemnation and real property law are published in the New York Law Journal, Practical Real Estate Lawyer and other legal and scholarly journals.  He also regularly contributes to his firm’s blog “Bulldozers at Your Doorstep.”  More about Mike’s professional experience is available on his OCA profile page and at www.grrhpc.com. Founded in 1953, the Counselors of Real Estate® is the membership organization established exclusively for real estate advisors who provide intelligent, unbiased, and trusted advice for a client or employer. Membership in The Counselors of Real Estate is on an invitation-only basis after a thorough review process.  CREs come from a wide array of professional backgrounds-from valuation, consulting, law, brokerage and asset management to development, investment, lending […]

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March 22nd, 2016 — In Articles

Eminent Domain vs. Inverse Condemnation: What’s the Difference?

Owners’ Counsel of America member-attorneys are dedicated to assisting private property owners defend their property rights when those rights are threatened by government intrusion or overreach. We realize that many of terms we discuss here and the concepts involved in eminent domain law are complex and can be confusing.  To shed some light on this “dark corner of the law” we have answered some of the frequently asked questions landowners may have relating to eminent domain and the condemnation process here and here.  In this article, we discuss the differences between eminent domain and inverse condemnation. Eminent Domain vs. Inverse Condemnation Eminent Domain There are two types of government acquisition or “taking” of private property.  One form of property acquisition includes the government’s exercise of its eminent domain power to force the sale of private property for a public project or use.  Eminent Domain – also referred to as “condemnation” – is the power of local, state or federal government agencies to take private property for public use provided the owner is paid just compensation. Sometimes, private corporations such as oil and gas companies, railroads or redevelopment authorities may be granted eminent domain power to construct projects providing a benefit to the public. The use of eminent domain power to take property is referred to by many terms and varies from state to state as well as internationally.  The acquisition may be referred to as a “condemnation” or “direct condemnation,” “expropriation,” “appropriation” or simply a “direct taking.”  In a direct condemnation or direct taking scenario, the government agency or other entity using the power […]

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