Hill, Farrer & Burrill LLP

Practice Area

Eminent Domain and Inverse Condemnation Litigation

Since its founding in 1923, the firm has specialized in eminent domain litigation, regularly representing property and business owners in counties throughout California as well as the U.S. District Courts and the Court of Federal Claims.  Most of these claims are direct condemnation claims in which a government entity seeks to take the private property of our client.  We have represented property owners of large development tracts, industrial, commercial and retail properties, railroad and other rights of way, working ranches and farms, and every other possible use of real estate.  We also represent business owners in loss of business goodwill and related claims.

A significant number of our cases are inverse condemnation actions where the government engages in conduct which constitutes an unconstitutional taking of private property but does not institute a direct condemnation action.  These cases can be based upon so-called regulatory or actual physical takings of property, or other unreasonable pre-condemnation conduct which damages the property.

As a result of our long experience in these areas, we have represented clients whose cases have made new law in the area of eminent domain.   Los Angeles v. Retlaw Enterprises, Inc. (1976) 16 Cal. 3d 473 (upholding various appraisal theories in then the largest eminent domain award in California)  Cuna Mutual Insurance v. Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority(2003) 108 Cal.App.4th 382 (inverse condemnation action establishing property owner’s right to claim mitigation expenses incurred to protect property from threatened damage by public project); City of Vista v. Fielder (1996) 13 Cal.4th 612 (eminent domain case upholding commercial tenant’s claims for leasehold bonus value and loss of business goodwill);  Hawthorne Red. Agency v. Force Electronics (1997) 55 Cal.App.4th 622 (eminent domain/inverse condemnation case requiring government to pay property owner immediately instead of over ten years for property taken and damages suffered)