Legal - Real Estate Law
Eminent Domain Attorney C. William Brewer, PC
Fresno, California 93711
Office: (559) 439-4000
Fax: (559) 439-5654
Hours of Operation
- Monday - Thursday8:30am - 5:30pm
- Friday8am - 5pm
Eminent Domain Law AttorneyC. William Brewer, PC provides comprehensive professional services in representing Private Landowners, Farmers, Commercial and Industrial Businesses and Homeowners in every aspect of Eminent Domain proceedings.
Mr. Brewer has 36 years' experience in Eminent Domain Law, including the representation of several public agencies over a period of 11 years and exclusively representing Private Landowners, Farmers, Business (Commercial and Industrial) Owners and Homeowners for the past 25 years. He is passionate about protecting private property rights against the harm done to Landowners and Business Owners.
C. William Brewer, PC practices throughout California, with the majority of cases occurring in the productive agribusiness environs of the great Central Valley. This includes the Cities and Counties of Fresno, Kings, Tulare, Kern, Madera, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Mariposa and the cities of Fresno, Bakersfield, Clovis, Delano, Tulare, Hanford, Visalia, Reedley, Dinuba, Kingsburg, Selma, Fowler, Madera, Chowchilla, Los Banos, Merced, Modesto, Stockton, and others.
IMPORTANT CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL NEWS
California’s High-Speed Fail System Doubles in Cost – NOVEMBER 2, 2011
“The authority’s projection of 117 million annual intercity passengers plus commuters is so far from reality that I have to call it what it is—science fiction,” Vranich wrote in his testimony. Most studies use population density to project ridership, but as a story in California Watch noted last month, “if the measure is population density, Florida and Ohio would be fertile ground as well. Both of those states rejected billions in federal aid for bullet trains, fearing they just couldn’t make the projects pencil out.”
California’s High-Speed Train Wreck – AUGUST 8, 2011
Joseph Vranich, the author of “Supertrains” and a 40-year advocate of high-speed rail, testified before a hearing of California’s State Senate Transportation and Housing Committee. He said, “This is the first time I am unable to endorse a high-speed rail plan” and that he found the California High Speed Rail Authority’s work to be “the poorest I have ever seen.”
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is Eminent Domain?
- Eminent Domain is a power given to Government or Quasi-Government Agencies to take or damage part or all of privately owned property. The power of Eminent Domain also may be used to force a Business, Tenant under a lease or Landowner to relocate. The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects Landowners by requiring Government Agencies to pay "just compensation." If a Business or Property Owner or Occupant is forced to relocate, California Law requires payment for moving and relocation expenses.
Government Agencies may only take private property when it is for a "public use" that is deemed more important than the Private Owner's use.
- Why do I need an Attorney?
- It is important for Landowners and Business Owners to obtain an Attorney throughout the Eminent Domain Process, because Government Agencies force you to sell, unlike other Real Estate Sellers. Government is not looking out for the Private Property Owner's or Business Owner's best interests. Retaining a qualified and experienced Attorney would assure your property rights are protected, and that the full fair market value is paid. In addition, Businesses that suffer a loss of goodwill must be compensated for the loss.
It is also important that the Attorney retained by the Private Land or Business Owner have substantial experience and qualifications in Eminent Domain Law. This area of law contains "traps for the unwary" that an inexperienced or unqualified Attorney may miss to the client's prejudice.
- What happens in an eminent domain case?
- Government starts the process by identifying private property it believes will benefit the public's use more so than if the property remained privately. The Agency will send an Appraiser out to your property to provide an opinion as to a "fair" estimate of what your property is worth on the open market. The appraisal will form the basis for a "precondemnation offer" to the Owner. The Owner may get its own appraisal, for which the Agency must pay, up to $5,000. If an Owner, Business or Tenant on the property is forced to relocate, it is entitled to relocation expenses which include moving and other costs of relocating to a new site. A Business that suffers a loss of goodwill caused by the take must be compensated for that loss. The steps in that process are generally summarized as follows:
1. A public hearing is noticed wherein the Governing Body of the Agency (e.g. City Council or Board of Supervisors) will take testimony, consider other presented evidence and consider adopting a Resolution of Necessity to proceed with taking the subject property by Eminent Domain. The resolution must be supported by findings based on evidence in the record. The findings that must be made are specified by the California Eminent Domain Law and consistent with constitutional criteria.
2. Once the resolution is adopted, the Government Agency may file a Complaint in Superior Court to take the subject property by Eminent Domain. Summons and Complaint is then served on the Property Owner who must file a formal document known as an "Answer" or "Responsive Pleading" in court and deliver a copy to the Condemnor Agency.
3. Thereafter, valuation experts (Appraisers) are typically engaged by both sides to determine, in the Experts' Respective Opinion, what the Agency must pay for (a) the part taken and (b) any damage to the part that remains under Private Ownership. Other experts may also be appropriate, such as engineers and/or land-use planning experts.
4. The Federal and State Constitutions guarantee the right of the Private Property Owner to a trial by jury. If the Eminent Domain case proceeds to trial, the determination of what just compensation should be awarded to the Landowner is made by the jury. The Agency that is taking the property must pay that amount.
- What is the Difference between Eminent Domain and Condemnation?
- There is no substantive difference. Eminent Domain is another word for condemnation and vice versa. They both refer to Government's conditional power to take or damage private property.
"Inverse Condemnation" is like an Eminent Domain action except it is brought by a Property Owner or Business Owner against a Government Agency that is taking or damaging the private property without the constitutionally-required payment of just compensation.
- Is there a way to stop the Government from taking my land via Eminent domain laws?
- Yes. If you can prove that your land is not being taken for a “public use” then the Agency may not take it. And there are other, similar reasons for blocking an Eminent Domain Action. An experienced Eminent Domain Attorney would have the legal knowledge to explain to you whether the government agency's action meets one of these exceptions.