News & Resources
February 28th, 2018 — In Articles
Five New Orleans stores to receive $2.1M from Major Drainage Project
Owners’ Counsel of America Member Randall Smith represented several landowners who filed damage claims arising from a sewage and sanitation project in New Orleans. After several years of litigation, the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board has agreed to pay five Uptown stores a total of $2.125 million for physical damages and the loss of business caused by major drainage work done on Jefferson Avenue in recent years. The settlement, finalized Monday, comes as the S&WB is preparing for trial in a case brought by 275 plaintiffs who allege their homes also were damaged by work on the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project, usually referred to as SELA. Langenstein’s, Discount Corner, Prytania Liquor Store, Prytania Mail Service and British Antiques are among the first plaintiffs to settle claims against the S&WB for damage from the work that turned Jefferson, Napoleon and Louisiana avenues into construction zones for years The five businesses suffered structural damage, including cracks in their buildings and problems with their foundations, and saw their business drop off because the construction limited access to their locations, said Randy Smith, an attorney representing the stores. “At the end of the day, the S&WB and its lawyers stepped up and did what was right,” Smith said.
February 13th, 2018 — In News & Events
Owners’ Counsel of America Elects Joshua E. Baker as Virginia Representative
Owners’ Counsel of American (OCA) is pleased to announce the selection of Joshua E. Baker of the firm of Waldo & Lyle as the Primary OCA Representative for the State of Virginia. After an extended vetting process, Owners’ Counsel of America limits its membership to but one eminent domain attorney from each of the 50 states. The Virginia seat was previously occupied by Joseph T. Waldo who has been elected to Emeritus Status. Baker, who has been practicing for 12 years, is well-known throughout Virginia, not only for his representation of private property owners, but also as a grassroots advocate for property rights reforms. In addition to his robust eminent domain practice, Baker is called every year to testify at hearings on private property rights issues before the Virginia General Assembly or to assist in the drafting of eminent domain legislation. His expertise and reputation have helped defeat measures that would limit owners’ rights in condemnation cases, and pass reforms strengthening them. Baker also played a leadership role in the drafting and advocacy of Virginia’s 2012 enactment of a constitutional amendment prohibiting the use of eminent domain for economic development. Like many OCA members, Baker limits his practice exclusively to the representation of private property owners facing the loss of or damage to their property through condemnation, inverse condemnation and regulatory takings. In 2017, Baker resolved over 40 different property rights disputes with just compensation payments ranging from several thousand dollars to several hundred thousands of dollars.
February 8th, 2018 — In News & Events
This Is Not A Taking for Affordable Housing According To Landowners’ Attorney
Richard De Angelis, with the law firm of McKirdy, Riskin, Olson, and DellaPelle (where OCA Member Tony DellaPelle also practices) is currently representing private landowners in New Jersey who are asserting that their property is being taken for private redevelopment purposes disguised as an affordable housing project. The borough’s claim that it can seize four downtown properties in the name of affordable housing is nothing more than a “whitewash” to help a for-profit development move forward, argues Mr. Angelis. The response was sparked by the Borough Council’s passage of an ordinance allowing it to take the lots via eminent domain, if the property owners do not agree to sell.
February 6th, 2018 — In News & Events
2018 Crystal Eagle Award Winner Luis Gallardo-Rivera
Owners’ Counsel of America (OCA) announces that it has presented its highest honor, the Crystal Eagle Award, to Luis Gallardo-Rivera of Puerto Rico, a person who has consistently demonstrated his passion and commitment to the protection of private property rights in his native country of Puerto Rico. Working with other dedicated citizens who believe that the residential communities of Puerto Rico need not be sacrificed in the name of economic and private redevelopment projects, Luis Gallardo-Rivera has fought diligently to transform and modernize Puerto Rico’s eminent domain laws. In 2012, as a student in the pro bono clinic of the University of Puerto Rico School of Law, Luis and others worked closely with Professor Maria Hernandez to draft municipal ordinances designed to curb expropriation abuses at the local level. Later, under the mentorship of Professor Adi Martinez, Luis participated in the investigation and legal filings that led to the Supreme Court’s decision in Guaynabo vs. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, finding that the rights of hundreds of families living in the community of Vietnam had been violated by their unlawful displacement. Later, in 2015 Luis was instrumental in drafting and lobbying for the passage of House Bill 2321, a major piece of legislation designed to update and transform the eminent domain laws of Puerto Rico in order provide private landowners faced with the taking of their property greater legal protections and due process safeguards. Although House Bill 2321 was tabled without being acted upon, the hard work of Luis and other dedicated individuals brought public and media attention to the critical […]
January 31st, 2018 — In News & Events
Louisiana Supreme Court Decides St. Bernard Port, Harbor v. Violet Dock Port, Inc.
On January 30, 2018 a unanimous Louisiana Supreme Court found that Violet Dock Port, after a 7-year courageous battle, was not accorded just compensation for the taking of its private property and remanded the case back to the appellate court for such a determination. Unfortunately, divided by a 4-3 vote, the Court did not also find the taking of the property to be unconstitutional, given the landowner’s assertion that its’ property and the existing business was being acquired for the purpose of operating that business and turning it over to another private company. OCA member, Randall A. Smith, counsel for Violet Dock Port has indicated that his client will seek a rehearing on the constitutionality of the taking and will pursue all just compensation claims.
November 15th, 2017 — In News & Events
American Law Institute Selects Joseph T. Waldo as New Member
Owners’ Counsel of American would like to congratuate OCA member Joseph T. Waldo for being selected by the American Law Institute (ALI) as a new member as this organization embarks on a major study of property law in America. Joe is the president of Waldo & Lyle and the designated OCA representative from Virginia. ALI is composed of attorneys, judges and legal scholars from all 50 states. ALI was founded in 1923 with the purpose of improving the law and the administration of justice. Judges, legislatures, law schools, and law firms across the country rely for guidance on its studies and research, known as Restatements. In its announcement ALI pointed to Joe Waldo’s expertise in property rights law as the reason for his election. The organization is now in the midst of a major study aimed at bringing “comprehensiveness and coherence to American property law.” Among the areas to be addressed: protection of and limits on ownership; divided and shared ownership; title and transfer; easements, servitudes, and land use; and public rights and takings. The study is expected to take 7 to 10 years. “By participating in the Institute’s work, “ the announcement states that Joe Waldo “would have the opportunity to influence the development of the law in both existing and emerging areas, to work with other eminent lawyers, judges, and academics, to give back to a profession to which they are deeply dedicated, and to contribute to the public good. “ Said Mr. Waldo: “I am honored to be […]
October 27th, 2017 — In News & Events
35th Annual ALI-CLE Eminent Domain and Land Valuation Conference in Charleston, South Carolina
Watch this video from OCA member Robert Thomas talking about the upcoming ALI-CLE Eminent Domain Conference in Charleston, South Carolina. This is a fantastic conference for anyone interested in getting better informed on the most current eminent domain issues across the country. Many of our OCA members will be attending as well as presenting on a variety of interesting topics. Please come and join us.
October 19th, 2017 — In News & Events
OCA Member Randall Smith Argues Precedent Setting Eminent Domain Case Before Louisiana Supreme Court
As reported in the New Orleans Advocate, this facility, once owned by the Violet Dock Port but since taken through eminent domain by St. Bernard Port, Harbor & Terminal District, is at the center of a protracted legal dispute that came before the Louisiana Supreme Court for argument on Monday. For decades, the facility serviced U.S. Navy ships on three of its five docks. The Violet Dock Port claimed that it was unfairly taken by the District to lease it to another private entity that would operate the same business and generate the same revenues as the Port had for years. On behalf of the former owners, OCA Member Randall Smith argued before the Louisiana Supreme Court that the taking violated the Louisiana and U.S. constitutions and should be overturned, with the property returned to the landowners. Mr. Randall also argued that if the lower split appellate decision was not overturned, the District should be forced to pay his clients a replacement value of $41 million or more for the loss of their property. In addition to the OCA itself (with the assistance of OCA Member Robert Thomas), numerous amicus groups joined in supporting Violet Dock Port, including the Institute for Justice (with the help of OCA member, Dana Berliner), the National Federation of Independent Business, the Louisiana Association of Business & Industry, Southeastern Legal Foundation, and the Cato Institute. On behalf of St. District, a national port organization and other Louisiana port entities submitted amicus briefs. Randall Smith is with […]
October 16th, 2017 — In News & Events
Owners’ Counsel of America Announces Addition of Shane Rayman as Newest Member
Owners’ Counsel of America is pleased to announce the recent addition of Shane Rayman to its membership base. Shane Rayman is a founding partner of Rayman Beitchman LLP, a boutique litigation firm in Canada focused on expropriations law and property rights litigation which are also Shane’s primary practice areas. His practice also includes commercial litigation and defending professionals on liability issues relating to expropriations law. In addition to having appeared before all levels of Court in Ontario and the Federal Court of Canada, Shane has represented his clients in many significant cases relating to land compensation claims throughout Ontario, including the landmark decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in Antrim Truck Centre v. Ontario (Ministry of Transportation). This appeal resulted in a unanimous decision by the Supreme Court in favor of the Appellant owner and set a precedent relating to real property rights and the balance between public and private property interests in Canada. Shane has also been involved in major infrastructure projects throughout Ontario, including the 407 East, the TYSSE Subway extension, Metrolinx initiatives and LRT Projects. Shane is a past president of the Ontario Expropriations Association and has been a director since 2006. This Association is made up of individuals from professions involved in the acquisition of land for public purposes and provides a forum for such professionals to educate one another on relevant issues. Shane is a member of the Ontario Bar Association, the Advocates’ Society and the Ontario Chapter of the International Right of Way Association. […]
October 3rd, 2017 — In News & Events
Owners’ Counsel of America Announces Leslie Fields as New Executive Director
Jacksonville, Florida, October 2, 2013 (Newswire.com) – Owners’ Counsel of America (OCA), a nationwide network of leading eminent domain attorneys, is pleased to announce the hiring of Leslie Fields as its new Executive Director, a person who brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the task of helping to lead and grow the organization. Leslie Fields retired in 2014 from Faegre Baker Daniels, a law firm with national and international offices, where she served on the firm’s management board and became a renowned legal expert on eminent domain and property rights issues, co-chairing for many years the longest running ALI-CLE conference on eminent domain and land valuation and presenting on the subject of eminent domain in locales as distant as Tsinghua University in Beijing China as part of the Brigham- Kanner Property Rights Conference sponsored by William & Mary Law School. Over her 33 year legal career, Fields, a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers, argued numerous precedent setting cases that helped shape the law of eminent domain in Colorado and was involved in land acquisition matters for multiple major public works projects, including representation of the principle landowners for the construction of the Denver International Airport. In 2008 Fields wrote the textbook on Colorado Eminent Domain Law. In 2014 the Sam Cary Bar Association awarded Fields the King Trimble Lifetime Achievement Award for her professional achievements and in 2016 Fields was honored as a Law Star by Denver University Sturm College of Law for her alumni […]