Archive | Highest and Best Use

The Burden of Proof in a Condemnation Case

States differ in their approach to the question of who has the burden of proof in a condemnation case, an issue discussed more thoroughly in Michael Rikon’s recent article published in the Practical Real Estate Lawyer. As Mr. Rikon explains, there are essentially three separate groups: those that have no burden of proof on the issue of damages, those that place the burden of proof on the claimant, and those that require the condemnor to prove its assay of damages. In New York, the burden of proof is on the… read more

Posted in Condemnation Procedures, Eminent Domain, Highest and Best Use, New York, Offer & Compensation, Trial Preparation
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NYLJ Article, “The Court’s Duty in a Condemnation Case”

Partners Michael Rikon & Jonathan Houghton recently authored an article in the New York Law Journal titled “The Court’s Duty in a Condemnation Case.” The article discusses a recent decision by the Appellate Division, Second Department, affirming an order of the Kings County Supreme Court Justice Wayne Saitta which granted a motion for leave to exchange amended appraisal reports and vacate the Note of Issue filed by the condemnor. The motion followed the review of both sides’ appraisals prior to trial. The trial court reviewed the appraisals that the parties intended to… read more

Posted in Condemnation Procedures, Eminent Domain, Highest and Best Use, New York, Published Articles, Recent cases, Trial Preparation
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Condemnors Say the Darndest Things

In New York, sanctions are rarely imposed on counsel during civil litigation; they are almost never imposed in Condemnation cases, which involve constitutionally protected claims for just compensation. Recently, the frivolous arguments have grown as if on steroids. Established legal principles, logic, and ethics are seemingly abandoned in the hope of influencing the court. Here are two examples from recent cases: In a real estate (fee) claim in which the Claimant presented evidence that there existed a reasonable probability of rezoning, the condemnor argued that the probable rezoning of the… read more

Posted in Highest and Best Use, Leases, New York, Trade fixtures
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Basics of Property Valuation in Condemnation Proceedings

The rule that real property is valued at its highest and best use free and clear of leases, mortgages or other encumbrances regardless of actual use is so fundamental that almost every eminent domain decision begins with a recitation of it. Firstly, the act of condemnation extinguishes any interest on the property. In 1931, the Court of Appeals wrote,  In Matter of City of New York (Allen Street), “the City pays for what it takes and nothing else.  By such taking it extinguishes all existing rights and interests in the property taken.” … read more

Posted in Condemnation Procedures, Eminent Domain, Highest and Best Use, Leases, New York, Offer & Compensation, Recent cases, Zoning
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A Condemnor Cannot Limit Just Compensation Because of a Planned Condemnation

The concept of limitation to one group of owners compared to others because of a proposed condemnation constitutes an unconstitutional denial of equal rights. We see this in cases where there has been a rezoning, but because parcels were to be taken in the exercise of eminent domain, the benefit of the up-zoning is denied. In Matter of City of New York (Inwood Hill Park Addition), 230 AD 31 (1st Dept 1930), afd. 256 NY 556 (1931), the Court held that there may be no deprivation of the right to submit any element of value which a… read more

Posted in Eminent Domain, Highest and Best Use, New York, Uncategorized, Zoning
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