Inverse Condemnation

Rosenberg Mendlin & Rosen, LLP represents property owners in obtaining “just compensation” after a landslide, mudslide, flood, water line leak, sewage spill or other event has damaged private property, under the area of law known as Inverse Condemnation. This field has unique legal principles which are constitutionally-based. The firm’s lawyers have litigated and tried these cases for three decades. We have developed and we maintain relationships with experts, including geologists, geotechnical engineers, hydrologists, appraisers and structural engineers, whose expertise is necessary to prosecute such cases successfully.

Property rights are protected as a matter of constitutional law under both the United States Constitution and the California Constitution. Property may not be taken or damaged for a public purpose without just compensation. Under the law of inverse condemnation, a governmental entity whose project damages a homeowner’s property will often be liable for the damages even if the government was not “negligent,” and even if the damages were not foreseeable.

For example, a governmental entity might construct a road by cutting into a hillside. That road cut might destabilize the hillside, causing a landslide that damages homes above the road. Or a road might collect and direct surface water into a hillside, destabilizing that hillside, causing a landslide which damages homes below the road. In such cases, the homeowners may be entitled to compensation even if the governmental entity was not “negligent” in building the road, and even if it was not foreseeable that construction and maintenance of the road would cause damage, because the road is a public project that benefits the public at large.

The individual property owner, if not compensated, would suffer a disproportionate share of the cost of the project. Even though the governmental entity did not directly “take” the property through the exercise of eminent domain, it damaged the property, perhaps without intent or knowledge of the likelihood of future damage, as part of a project benefiting the public at large.

The homeowners whose properties were damaged are harmed just as if the governmental entity condemned the property and took it directly for public use. We represent property owners in such situations to protect their rights and to obtain “just compensation.”

Representative inverse condemnation cases the firm has handled include:

  • Successfully represented over forty family homeowners in Carmel, California for claims for flood damage from the Carmel River against public entities and private property owners. Settled with all parties except Monterey County, and obtained a jury verdict in favor of homeowners against Monterey County
  • Successfully represented over twenty family homeowners in claims for flood damage from the San Francisquito Creek against public entities in Santa Clara County
  • Successfully represented property owners through jury trial on a claim for toxic contamination against a public entity in Riverside County
  • Successfully represented two homeowners in Beverly Glen whose homes were damaged from drainage off of an uphill road. Cases settled by City of Los Angeles’ purchase of the homes
  • Successfully represented two homeowners in Beverly Glen whose homes were damaged by a landslide caused by a leaking sewer line
  • Successfully represented owners of three homes in Pacific Palisades whose homes were damaged by landslides caused by City drainage into Potrero Canyon
  • Successfully represented owner of home which suffered subsidence (settling) damage from City storm drain leaking under home
  • Successfully represented owner of home damaged by landslides and subsidence caused by City storm drain, sewer repairs and settlement of City cul-de-sac
  • Successfully represented owner of home damaged by sewage backup into home from City sewer line
  • Successfully represented owner of home damaged by drainage from City street and from uphill property
  • Successfully represented owner of property damaged by landslide caused by drainage off of City street
  • Successfully represented owner of property damaged by landslide caused by drainage off of fire road
  • Successfully represented owner of property damaged by landslide in Studio City resulting from multiple causes, including seepage of water through cracks in streets
  • Successfully represented owners of land damaged in Big Rock landslide resulting from multiple causes, and involving multiple governmental entities
  • Successfully represented owner of beach property damaged by erosion to sea wall
Skills

Posted on

Aug. 2015