The purpose of the Goldstein, Rikon, Rikon & Houghton, P.C. Eminent Domain Blog is to provide the public with information about the practice of eminent domain law. We also hope to share relevant updates and legal developments affecting this area of the law.

  • PUT THAT IN YOUR PIPE AND SMOKE IT! MATTER OF NATIONAL FUEL GAS SUPPLY v SCHUECKLER

    The Fourth Department of New York’s Appellate Division handed down the decision in Matter of National Fuel Gas Supply Corp. v Schueckler, ___ AD3d ____, 2018 NY SLIP OP 07550 (Nov. 9, 2018).  The appeal involved the granting of a petition for the acquisition of easements for an interstate gas pipeline. Now gas pipelines have gotten pretty used to obtaining what they need.  But not in New York.  The State of New York has blocked the entire pipeline project by denying the necessary environmental permits.  Notwithstanding the barrier posed by… read more

    Posted in EDPL Article 2, FERC Certificate, Natural Gas Act, Pipeline Easements
  • CAN ONE GOVERNMENT CONDEMN ANOTHER GOVERNMENT’S PROPERTY?

    Generally, a body with the power of eminent domain cannot condemn the property of a higher sovereign.  But the key inquiry seems to be, is the current use a public use, since there is a doctrine of prior public use which holds that a condemnor may not condemn property already being used for a public purpose if the proposed use “will either destroy the existing (public) use or interfere with it to such an extent as is tantamount to destruction.”  Okanogan County PUD v State, 182 Wn2d 519, 538-539 (2015). … read more

    Posted in Condemnation of Government Property, Prior Public Use
  • CAN A CLAIMANT TESTIFY AS TO THE VALUE OF PROPERTY IN NEW YORK? WHY NOT?

    We became intrigued with this question after reading the Amici Curiae brief of Owner’s Counsel of America written by renowned legal scholar Robert H. Thomas in an appeal pending in the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, Sabal Trial Transmission, LLC v 3.921 Acres of Land in Lake County, Florida.  I am the New York State representative of Owner’s Counsel of America. The brief makes two main points.  First, the Fifth Amendment requires that an owner recover the “full and perfect equivalent for the property taken.”  And… read more

    Posted in Competency of Witness, Owner's Testimony, Valuation
  • MORE KNICK ON KNICK V. TOWNSHIP OF SCOTT

    We wrote about this case in our September 21, 2018 blog.  The Township of Scott, Pennsylvania passed an ordinance affecting private properties determined to be or contain cemeteries. In relevant part, the ordinance required that “all cemeteries within the Township . . . be kept open and accessible to the general public during daylight hours” and that no owner could unreasonably restrict nor charge any fee to access the cemetery (the “public-access provision”).  Additionally, the ordinance permitted a Township office to enter any property within the Township to determine whether… read more

    Posted in De Jure Condemnation, Inverse Condemnation, Knick v Town of Scott
  • MUST A HIGHEST AND BEST USE BE FINANCIALLY FEASIBLE?

    It is the general rule that “just compensation” is the fair market value of the property at the date of the taking, Matter of Board of Water Supply of City of New York, 277 NY 452 (1938); County of Erie v Fridenberg, 221 NY 389 (1917), and the fair market value is the price for which the property would sell if there was a willing buyer who was under no compulsion to buy and a willing seller who was under no compulsion to sell.  Keator v State of New York,… read more

    Posted in Financial Feasibility, Highest and Best Use