Author Archive | Michael Rikon

The Power of Eminent Domain: A Case Study Between Two States

In 2005 the Supreme Court held in Kelo v. City of New London that the general benefits of economic growth allowed the taking of private property for a private developer. The Court held that the economic development taking did not violate the public purpose clause of the Fifth Amendment. Since then, many states have adopted amendments to their Constitutions which narrow and specify the “public uses” for which property can be condemned. Virginia is one such state. The Virginia Assembly in 2007 enacted Chapters 882, 901 and 926. The legislation provided that… read more

Posted in Condemnation Procedures, Eminent Domain, Eminent Domain Abuse, Future of the law, New York, Recent cases
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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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Just Compensation? Not if We Can Help It

A business may be firmly rooted in a neighborhood. It might be quite successful and profitable. It could be a family enterprise which has had multi-generational owners and workers. Then comes that fateful day when the property is included in a condemnation proceeding; a forced sale which was hardly solicited. Years of goodwill go out the window, for goodwill is not compensable in New York, or most other states. Then comes the inevitable eviction to obtain vacant possession of the premises. Most established businesses will find it a challenge to… read more

Posted in Condemnation Procedures, Leases, New York, Offer & Compensation, Trade fixtures
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Mortgages- We Don’t Care About No Stinking Contracts

I once wrote that there is a legal aphorism in criminal law that a good prosecutor could indict a ham sandwich. If this is so, in an eminent domain proceeding, an average condemnor could condemn a kasha knish. The public purpose which is supposed to be a required element by our Fifth Amendment really doesn’t apply. See Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S.469 (2005). So it is hardly surprising that some governmental ninnies would think that in order to help its underwriter homeowner citizens, it would condemn their… read more

Posted in Eminent Domain, Eminent Domain Abuse, Future of the law, Legislation, Mortgage seizures
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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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