Public Acquisition Law in California
California property owners facing condemnation or acquisition of their property by eminent domain may well feel confused and overwhelmed by the process. In California, government agencies may only acquire property by eminent domain by following the rules and procedures of California property acquisition law. These rules exist in part to protect the rights of property owners who are facing an eminent domain situation. In maintaining high standards of legal excellence to better serve property owners, the knowledgeable California eminent domain attorneys at Peterson Law Group strive to protect a property owner by ensuring that the process follows the laws surrounding property acquisition.
Many state eminent domain actions are undertaken at the state level by a handful of state agencies that may pursue an eminent domain action. Cities and counties may also seek to acquire property via eminent domain. Regardless of the public agency or unit of government involved, it must follow:
- Property acquisition law by selecting a property;
- Ensuring any proposed development of that property complies with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA);
- Performing a relocation study;
- Obtaining an appraisal;
- Legal description, and title report on the property, and;
- Informing the property owners of any hearings about acquiring the property.
Both state and federal eminent domain law require the agency to provide “just compensation” when acquiring a private property via eminent domain. “Just compensation” is usually based on the fair market value of the property, which is estimated in an appraiser’s evaluation of property. The property owner may hire a separate appraiser to assess the property.
If the property owner and the government agency cannot agree on a selling price, California property acquisition law requires the agency to prepare and adopt a resolution of necessity before filing an eminent domain action in court. The resolution of necessity explains why this particular property is required and confirms that an offer was made. The agency adopting a resolution of necessity must do so in a public hearing. The property owner must be given notice of the hearing and a chance to be heard. The property owner may speak at the hearing, or may choose a California eminent domain attorney to speak on his or her behalf.
Comprehensive Jury Trial Experience
California law gives property owners a right to present evidence of the property’s value to a jury in order to determine a fair market price. When selecting an eminent domain attorney in Los Angeles, it is invaluable to consider both the attorney’s familiarity with public acquisition law and with jury trials.
The attorneys at Peterson Law Group have the knowledge of public acquisition law and the jury trial experience needed to represent a wide range of property owners, from corporations to small businesses to individuals, in an eminent domain action. We provide practical experience with public acquisitions law, which is reflected in courtroom results.
While we believe every property owner facing an eminent domain action should be entitled to the assistance of experienced eminent domain attorneys, we are admittedly selective about the cases we represent. Our selection process allows us to provide the personal attention each client needs while striving for the results each client deserves.
As an American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) member with a strong AV Martindale rating, and in being included in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers, John S. Peterson of the Peterson Law Group has the legal knowledge and skill necessary for your eminent domain case. Contact Peterson Law Group at (213) 236-9720 to discuss your situation and allow us to help you assess your claim.