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Eminent Domain Attorneys – California Verdicts & Settlements

Eminent Domain Cases in California

$70 Million Jury Verdict

An Orange County City recently wanted to take 11 acres of land without compensating the property owners, and requiring that the property owners pay millions of dollars for the project. At trial with our eminent domain attorneys, the jury awarded in excess of $70 million to the California property owners. After post-trial motions, parties agreed to settlement in full for approximately $76 million.

$50 Million Settlement

A Southern California School District sought to acquire one of two adjoining properties owned by our client to use for public education purposes. In this eminent domain case, the California District’s initial offer of $28 million failed to consider the subject property’s assemblage with an adjoining property also owned by the client. During pre-trial negotiations with our eminent domain attorneys, the parties were able to agree to a full and complete settlement in the amount of $50 million.

Government Offers/Results Achieved:

  • $0 — $76 Million
  • $2.21 Million —  $14 Million
  • $300 Thousand — $2.4 Million
  • $28 Million — $50 Million
  • $0 —  $770 Thousand
  • $531 Thousand — $1.2 Million
  • $354 Thousand — $7.5 Million
  • $237 Thousand — $3.2 Million
  • $5 Thousand — $1.975 Million
  • $5.5 Million — $10 Million


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Representative Matters

Michael I. Kehoe

Represented foreign investor/owner of a southern California mall property that a school district sought to condemn.  The case proceeded to trial on a challenge to the public agency’s right to condemn.  The agency’s first written offer for the property was $7 million.  After the submission of evidence at the right to take trial, the agency settled the case agreeing to pay our client $22 million.

Represented national recycling company in a condemnation of a significant recycling yard.  The agency originally offered $2.6 million.  After opposing and defeating the public agency’s attempt to obtain a court order for early possession, the agency settled the case for $11.9 million.

Assisted and advised a national, publicly traded company to resolve threatened code enforcement action and obtain permitting entitlements for multi-acre operations yard critical to client’s business operations in Southern California.

Part of litigation team that successfully challenged City’s efforts to rescind hotel development’s vested property rights resulting in reported appellate decision.

Resolved dispute with Caltrans for over $1 million above initial offer of $18,000 involving compensation claims that hinged upon client’s land use entitlements.

The client owned property impacted by groundwater contamination. Was co-trial counsel with senior partner Patrick Hennessey resulting in the contaminating party being found obligated to fully indemnify our client for all contamination of client’s property.

Represented auto dealership affected by the Riverside freeway widening project. Claims were loss of business goodwill. Settled case for more than $2.5 million. The agency initially offered no compensation for loss of business goodwill.

County sought to acquire the client’s business location and yard. The County originally offered $531,000 for the property and $0 compensation for business goodwill, fixtures and equipment. After filing a condemnation lawsuit and exchanging of expert witness valuation statements, the County settled the case at mediation for $1.2 million.

Handled an eminent domain action where Caltrans sought to take a strip of street frontage from our client’s apartment property. Caltrans originally offered $631,000. After exchanging our expert’s opinion on compensation for the taking of land and damages to the client’s remaining property, Caltrans settled the case at mediation agreeing to pay $2.1 million.

A County denied taking access from our client’s seven acre, unimproved property located off the I-10 freeway. Its only settlement offer was $57,000. The court found the County temporarily took access rights, used the client’s property without permission, and engaged in other unreasonable conduct. Because the County refused to settle even after the judge found the County was liable, the case proceeded to a compensation trial. After a jury verdict in favor of our clients, the County ultimately settled for $2.5 million with our clients retaining ownership of their property and access rights.

The clients owned neighboring homes in Norwalk that suffered damage to their backyards from a sliding Caltrans slope. Caltrans denied all liability and offered no compensation. Caltrans ultimately settled the cases. The settlements included Caltrans demolishing and reconstructing the slope, repairing the clients’ backyards, and paying over $1.6 million as compensation for damages and reimbursement of litigation expenses, including attorney and experts’ fees.

The clients owned a residential property next to the 22 freeway. The clients originally signed a contract with Caltrans selling a portion of their property. Caltrans, however, damaged the clients’ remaining property, which it did not acquire. Caltrans originally denied all liability and offered $0 in compensation. After we filed and litigated an inverse condemnation case against Caltrans, Caltrans settled with our clients at mediation for $487,000.

The State originally offered $311,000 for the taking of a portion of our client’s industrial property located in San Bernardino County. The State offered $0 in compensation for loss of business goodwill. After exchange of expert valuation statements, the State ultimately settled the case at mediation for approximately $6.4 million, which included reimbursement for attorney and experts’ fees.

Caltrans filed an eminent domain action to condemn a 30-foot wide strip of commercial property located off the I-10 freeway. The property was a little less than an acre in size. Caltrans’ initial offer was $65,600. After exchanging our expert’s opinion of compensation totaling $1.2 million, Caltrans settled the case and agreed to buy our client’s property for $2 million.

A public agency wanted to condemn a small strip from our client’s industrial property in Riverside for a railroad grade separation project. The property was improved with two, multitenant industrial buildings. The original offer was $90,000 and no damages. After expert exchange and depositions, the city agreed to pay $1,580,000 and also convey approximately a half-acre of property to our client.

The clients owned property that the Flood Control District sought to acquire for the raising of a dam. The District originally offered a little more than $1.5 million and argued that the property could not be developed because of the lack of public infrastructure. After we demonstrated the depressing influence of the District’s project on development in the area, the District agreed to compensate our clients $5.2 million.

Commercial lessor/redeveloper contended that it complied with the rights and obligations pertaining to a “buy-out” provision of the lease with our client. The trial court determined otherwise and awarded a verdict for the tenants. As a result, the clients received a judgment and buy-out in excess of almost $900,000 plus interest. The Court also awarded reimbursement of attorney’s fees to our clients as the prevailing party. On appeal, the Court of Appeal affirmed the award in all respects.


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