Valuation of Property

An accurate and thorough valuation of property is invaluable to property owners facing an eminent domain action by a government agency. A property valuation should be as complete as possible to ensure that the property owner receives the full fair market value of the property, including any improvements and business goodwill. As an AV Rated firm acknowledged for its successful case results and integrity, the Peterson Law Group prides itself in working to ensure that the full fair market value of the property is recognized.

Know What California Eminent Domain Law Has To Say About Your Case

Both federal and California eminent domain law require that a property owner receive "just compensation" from the government when an agency acquires the owner’s property under eminent domain. Just compensation is usually understood to be the fair market value of the property and other valuables related to the property. Some common losses that must be compensated include:

  1. The value of the land;
  2. The value of any improvements to the land, including buildings, fixtures, equipment, or other items that are generally understood to be permanently attached to the land;
  3. The value of any leases pertaining to the land;
  4. In state cases, the value of the loss of business goodwill, if the loss cannot be prevented by relocating the business or by any other reasonably prudent measures the business owner could take to preserve it.

Even if a business is relocated, loss of goodwill may occur in the form of patrons who may not come to the new building, reduced income, or higher expenses.

Since a government agency is required to make an offer to buy the property before beginning an eminent domain action, an agency will usually send an appraiser to obtain an estimate of the property’s value. Real estate appraisal is an art, not a science, and two appraisers may differ in their estimation of a property’s value by thousands or perhaps even millions of dollars. The skilled Los Angeles eminent domain attorneys at Peterson Law Group knows the credentials of local appraisers and will choose a highly qualified appraiser to review a property, which may result in a significantly higher appraisal amount.

Seek An Attorney With The Jury Trial Experience You Need

In California, property owners have the legal right to present their valuation evidence, including an independent appraisal, to a jury. The jury then determines an appropriate amount for the government agency to pay in compensation to the property owner. Since the opportunity to present evidence to a jury is a valuable one, a property owner must choose an eminent domain attorney carefully, ensuring that the attorney has a strong record of experience in jury trials.

The eminent domain attorneys at Peterson Law Group offer practical experience reflected in jury trial results. Attorneys at Peterson Law Group have obtained jury verdicts for clients in cases including, for example:

  1. $10.5 million verdict on auto dealership property adjacent to the 405 Freeway where the initial offer to the client was $5.4 million;
  2. $4.0 million verdict for vacant land across from the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles where the initial offer was $840,000;
  3. $795,000 verdict for loss of business goodwill for a marine equipment supply company that was required to relocate. The agency's appraiser initially concluded that there was no loss of goodwill at all.

Peterson Law Group works with highly qualified appraisers and experts on each eminent domain case. Our attorneys strive to provide the best possible representation while remaining aware of the need for cost-effective litigation. Please contact us today to discuss the details surrounding your particular situation and to learn more about how we can help.