STORM WATER RELEASES DURING HARVEY WERE ALLEGEDLY UNLAWFUL TAKINGS

Reuters announced that owners of homes flooded during Hurricane Harvey are claiming billions in damages because of Federal and State water releases from storm-swollen reservoirs.  Several lawsuits have been filed in Federal and State Court in Texas and claim properties were taken for public use without compensation.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and a Texas State agency have been named as the defendants responsible for the water releases.  Damages are estimated to be as high as $3 billion.  There may be more than 1,000 homes valued at between $750,000… read more

Posted in Harvey Storm Water Releases, Inverse Condemnation, Temporary Flooding
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BRIGHAM-KANNER PROPERTY RIGHTS CONFERENCE

           This year’s Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conference will be held from October 12, 2017 to October 13, 2017. The annual Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conference is presented by the William and Mary Property Rights Project and is named in recognition of Toby Prince Brigham and Gideon Kanner for their lifetime contributions to private property rights.  The conference is designed to bring together members of the bench, bar and academia to explore recent developments in the laws that affect property rights.  The Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conference began in… read more

Posted in Eminent Domain Conference, Land Use, Property Rights Conference
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WHEN A JUDGE DOESN’T GET IT

New York is one of three states in the union that does not provide for jury trials in condemnation matters.  Not only that, but there is a designated justice who is assigned to hear condemnation cases in every county.  Many of our out of state colleagues who practice eminent domain law find that having the same judge is almost as incredible as not having a jury. Most of the time, the judges assigned to the condemnation part are interested in the subject and become experts in the law.  Some courts… read more

Posted in Appraisal, Appraisal Rule, Date of Valuation, Summary Judgment
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The Supreme Court rejects a property owner’s regulatory taking claim

The Supreme Court of the United Sates rejected a property owner’s regulatory taking claim in Murr v Wisconsin, 582 U.S. ____ [2017]. The claim alleged that a Wisconsin law deprived the owner of all or practically all of the use of one of two adjacent lots because the lot could not be sold or developed separately under the Wisconsin law. The Court applied a multi-part test to identify the relevant parcel for the regulatory taking inquiry. It concluded that the two lots should be evaluated as a single parcel, and… read more

Posted in Inverse Condemnation, Recent cases
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BROOKLYN CENTER TRIAL DECISION

Goldstein, Rikon, Rikon & Houghton, P.C. obtained three favorable decisions from the Honorable Wayne P. Saitta after a trial handled by Jon Houghton and Ashley Levi. The three properties were located in the Willoughby Square area of downtown Brooklyn.  The plan was to upzone the land to encourage the development of office buildings in downtown Brooklyn.  As the Court noted, the majority of the development that took place since the 2004 rezonings was hotel and residential development rather than office buildings.  Although the zoning change took place some five years… read more

Posted in Brooklyn Development Properties, F.A.R., Fair Market Value
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WHAT LAW SHOULD APPLY IN A CONDEMNATION BY A PRIVATE ENTITY EXERCISING FEDERAL EMINENT DOMAIN AUTHORITY – FEDERAL OR STATE?

An interesting decision was won by our Florida Owner’s Counsel of America colleague, Andrew Prince Brigham.  The case, Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC v Real Estate, et. al., was decided by Honorable Mark E. Walker in the Northern District of Florida, United States District Court on June 5, 2017, Case No. 1:16-CV-063 MW-GRJ. Sabal Transmission proposes to construct a 516.2 mile pipeline in Alabama, Georgia and Florida.  After initiating an eminent domain condemnation action against multiple private owners, it filed a motion for partial summary judgment asserting that the Fifth Amendment… read more

Posted in Choice of Law, Property Rights, Transmission Lines
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WE NEED THE GATEWAY TUNNEL AND PENN STATION REDEVELOPMENT NOW

The Trump administration’s infrastructure plan will be out in a few weeks and will call for $200 billion in taxpayer money to generate $1 trillion in private investment in over ten years. President Trump’s pledge to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure was a top campaign promise, but has received little attention amidst the daily disasters of his administration.  Indeed, it may be the rare area that appears ripe for bipartisan support.  Not that there isn’t some concern that the plan to have private investment will come at the cost of… read more

Posted in Gateway Tunnel, Infrastructure Plan, Penn Station, Public Purpose
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ABOUT THE BORDER WALL THAT YOU WILL PAY FOR

We previously wrote about the physical wall that is to be constructed between the United States and Mexico.  The immediate construction was authorized by Presidential Order on January 25, 2017.  President Trump is asking Congress for $4.1 billion through next year to start construction.  The estimated cost to build the wall ranges from $20 billion to $70 billion. Building the structure will require acquiring private property through eminent domain.  This is not a popular idea anywhere, least of all in Texas.  According to the South Texas Property Rights Association which… read more

Posted in Attorneys' Fees, Border Wall, Landowner Lawsuits, Property Rights
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TIME FOR THE STATE OF NEW YORK TO STOP ITS OUTRAGEOUS CONDUCT IN EMINENT DOMAIN CASES

The Attorney General of the State of New York promotes himself as the “People’s Lawyer” which is the guardian of the legal rights of the citizens of New York.  I submit that property owners whose property is appropriated by the New York State Department of Transportation are within the ambit of protection. The Attorney General’s office defends the State when an appropriation claim is filed.  But as advocates for NYSDOT, it would appear that the legal rights of claimants mean nothing in the effort to keep compensation awards as low… read more

Posted in Bad Faith, Just Compensation, License Requirements, Prior Appraisals
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THAT PERMANENT EASEMENT IS REALLY A FEE TAKING IN DISGUISE

Often the State of New York will appropriate property for a highway project by utilizing three different types of takings, full fee takings, temporary easements and permanent easements.  Some appropriation maps will indicate all three types of takings.  The fee taking is valued on all damages which result, direct and any severance or consequential damages to the remainder. The temporary easement is valued at a rental value plus imputed expenses such as real estate taxes.  In addition, if the continued existence of the temporary easement causes damage to the remainder,… read more

Posted in Easements, Partial Takings
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