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Supreme Court Upholds Precondemnation Inspection Rights

  • July 25, 2016

July 25, 2016

The California Supreme Court has upheld and strengthened public agencies’ precondemnation inspection rights.  Code of Civil Procedure sections 1245.010 et seq. (Entry Statutes) authorize court-ordered entry of private property to conduct inspections, including borings and testing, to determine if property is suitable for condemnation.  Property owners had convinced a lower court that such entries were “takings,” and that the Entry Statutes provided an insufficient constitutional process for determining just compensation, lacking particularly a right to a jury trial.  In  Property Reserve, Inc. v. Superior Court (Department of Water Resources) (July 21, 2016, S217738) __ Cal.4th __ [2016 WL 3924221], the Court conducted a very thorough analysis of the issues, and validated the Entry Statutes, even reforming the statute to include a right to a jury trial.  Significantly, the California Supreme Court determined that, whether or not the inspection and testing authorized by the Entry Statutes could be considered a “taking,” the Entry Statutes provided a sufficient constitutional process for determining just compensation. The Property Reserve case effectively blunts what was a growing effort to restrict agencies’ rights to condemn property for the public good.

For more information about this case, or any other questions, please contact a DWK attorney

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