Archive | Eminent Domain

Bruce’s Beach – The Final Chapter

We wrote about Bruce’s Beach, located in Manhattan Beach, California on August 5, 2021 and October 7, 2021, an old case which has sparked national “condemnation” was the 1924 taking of “Bruce’s Beach.”  The resort was established by Willa and Charles Bruce in 1912.  It was a destination where black tourists could swim, dance, eat and rest. The City claimed that it needed the property for a public park, but left it undeveloped.  The condemnation was clearly motivated by racism. Manhattan Beach has been grappling with the history of Bruce’s… read more

Posted in Bruce's Beach, Eminent Domain
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Will The Texas Bullet Train Ever Be Built?

We have written about the Texas Bullet Train several times in this blog, February 28, 2017, May 21, 2020 and October 8, 2020. The project, after a decade since it was announced, is still in limbo.  This is despite a June 2022 ruling by the Texas Supreme Court allowing the company to use eminent domain to acquire its right of way. The company is in complete disarray.  The CEO resigned and the Texas Central Board disbanded.  Land acquisition has stopped for the last two years. The high-speed train that promises… read more

Posted in Eminent Domain, Partial Takings, Severance Damages, Texas Bullet Train
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When an Easement Is Really a Direct Taking

The right of an owner to just compensation for property taken by eminent domain is one guaranteed by the federal and state constitutions.  (Federal Constitution, Fourteenth Amendment; NY Constitution, Art. 1, Subd. 7).  The constitutional requirement of “just compensation” mandates that the property owner be indemnified so that he may be put in the same relative position, insofar as this is possible, as if the taking had not occurred.  City of Buffalo v J.W. Clement Co., Inc., 28 NY2d 241 258 (1971); Rose v State of New York, 24 NY2d… read more

Posted in Condemnation, Direct Taking, Easements, Eminent Domain
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The Expert Witness in a Condemnation Trial

The fundamental rule is that the qualifications of a witness as an expert is a determination within the sound discretion of the trial court.  Smith v City of New York, 238 AD2d 500 (2d Dept 1997). An expert, once qualified, is allowed to testify as to the expert’s opinion.  Sec. 7-301, Prince on Evidence (11th Ed. P. 456).  In a condemnation case, the evidence before the court will be expert testimony by appraisers, zoning experts and other valuation experts. As one court has stated, “impartiality should be the touchstone of… read more

Posted in Appraisers, Condemnation, Eminent Domain, Expert Witness, Independent Expert, Opinion Evidence, Qualifications
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May a Religious Organization’s Land be Condemned?

Yes, if the procedural and due process requirements of the Eminent Domain Procedure Law are complied, a church or synagogue’s land may be taken by eminent domain. Religious organizations often alleged that they are protected by the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (42 USC § 2000cc et seq.).  However, the Act only applies to a zoning and landmarking law.  Case law provides that a government’s exercise of eminent domain does not constitute an application of a zoning law.  See St. John’s United Church of Christ v City of… read more

Posted in Eminent Domain, Religious Land Use & Institutionalized Persons Act, Religious Organization
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