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Developers Beware – Court of Appeal Clarifies the Effect of a Breach of the Sale of Land Act

In Barker v Midstyle Nominees Pty Ltd [2014] WASCA 75, the West Australian Court of Appeal has considered the legal consequences of a developer entering into off the plan contracts in breach of Section 13 of the Sale of Land...more

FHFA, City Of Chicago Resolve Dispute Over Vacant Property Ordinance

On April 3, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois approved an order of dismissal and memorandum of understanding jointly entered by the FHFA and the City of Chicago to end more than two years of...more

New Hurdles for Public Agencies: Accessing Property May Now Require Eminent Domain Actions

For the first time in 38 years, a court has declared part of California’s statutory eminent domain law unconstitutional. The ruling, if upheld, will create additional hurdles for public agencies and may have unintended...more

"Rails to Trails" or "Rails to Trespass": Supreme Court Speaks on the Abandonment of Certain Railroad Rights of Way

Last month, the Supreme Court of the United States (please, there is no such thing as the "United States Supreme Court") decided a very interesting case about easements. "Easements?", you ask. Yes, easements. We use them...more

Real Estate Tip: Hire Your Own Surveyor to Avoid a Close Call

A recent New Hampshire real estate closing was stalled at the 11th hour when the parties realized that a survey plan did not show the location of a no-build area created by private restriction in the chain of title. Since...more

Recent Trends In Eminent Domain -- And What To Expect Next

2013 felt a bit like deja vu, as much of the year was dominated by recurring themes: redevelopment dissolution issues, headlines on the condemnation of underwater mortgages, the U.S. Supreme Court showing interest in takings,...more

Playing Zone(-ing) Defense

ZONE(-ING) DEFENSE --- With March Madness in full swing, now is a great time to review how local zoning ordinances can turn a mortgage servicer’s foreclosure layup into a blocked shot. Many U.S. states rely on a judicial...more

Take That! Second District Court of Appeal Clears Major Hurdles for Newhall Ranch Project, Provides Guidance on California’s...

California’s Second District Court of Appeal, Division Five, issued a decision on March 20 in Center for Biological Diversity v. Department of Fish & Wildlife (Case No. BS131347), overturning the trial court’s decision...more

Ruling May Put The Brakes On Some CEQA Investigations

For years, public agencies have utilized a statutory "right-of-entry" procedure to gain access to private property to conduct investigations and testing before deciding whether to move forward with a condemnation action....more

Bowman v. California Coastal Commission: New California Court of Appeal Decision Holds that a Collateral Attack is no Substitute...

Sometimes in land use law, the most impactful court holdings come from the simplest of cases. That may be the situation with the new California Court of Appeal decision in Bowman v. California Coastal Commission, issued by...more

Court Decision Raises Questions About Viability of Precondemnation "Right of Entry" Efforts

Last week, the Court of Appeal issued a decision that may be one of the ones we look back on as among the most significant of 2014 (at least in the world of eminent domain). For years (and certainly for the entire 20 years...more

Court Rejects Statute Allowing Court Ordered Entry Onto Private Property by Public Agencies for Pre-Acquisition Testing

California Eminent Domain Law allows public agencies to obtain a court order permitting access onto private property to conduct pre-acquisition testing and inspections. These tests and inspections can help an agency...more

Appellate Court Notes - Week ending March 24

SC18996 - Meyers v. Livingston, Adler, Pulda, Meiklejohn & Kelly, P.C. This case arrived from a divided Appellate Court where some jurist opined that the plaintiff’s attorney malpractice claims sounded solely in tort,...more

2013 Eminent Domain Year in Review & 2014 Forecast

It's become our custom this time of year to provide our readers with an eminent domain recap from last year along with our thoughts on what to expect in 2014. 2013 felt a bit like déjà vu, as much of the year was dominated...more

2 and 1/2 Strikes and the NGOs May Be Out: EPA Refuses to Exercise Residual Designation Authority

Stormwater regulation is a thorny issue. There is widespread agreement that nutrient run-off can be a significant problem, but little agreement on what to do about it, since stormwater infrastructure is normally managed by...more

Green Law Corner: What LEED v4 Means for You

In late 2013, the U.S. Green Building Council released its latest version of LEED, Version 4. Most of you have certainly heard of LEED but you may not know what LEED really means. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and...more

Supreme Court Ruling Represents Major Shift for Railroad Rights of Way

This week, the Supreme Court ruled that the United States Forest Service could not construct a trail on an abandoned railroad right of way (ROW) that crosses through private property. Brandt v. United States, No. 12-1173,...more

Legal Alert: Marvin M. Brandt Revocable Trust v. United States: Supreme Court Opens the Door to Potential Fifth Amendment Takings...

In what is commonly known as a rails-to-trails case, the U.S. Supreme Court held on March 10, 2014, in an eight-to-one decision, that certain railroad rights-of-way revert to private property owners following the railroad’s...more

Rails-to-Trails Decision: Supreme Court Holds that Government Does Not Retain Reversionary Interest

The "Rails-to-Trails" program sounds like such a great idea in theory: take old, abandoned railroad right of way and turn it into public trails. Who would complain about that? Well, it turns out lots of people might...more

Construction and Land Use Newsletter - March 2014

Please see full newsletter below for more information. - Lorton Landfill Dispute Nearing Board of Supervisors’ Review - I Know My (Vested) Rights! Developing a Project in a Changing Climate - Excerpt from...more

Appellate Court Rules in Favor of Saudi Prince in Benedict Canyon Case

Appellate Court Rules in Favor of Saudi Prince in Benedict Canyon Case Rejects arguments that ordinance requires environmental review In the much publicized case of a Saudi Prince seeking to build his residential...more

Tower Lane Properties v. City of Los Angeles: JMBM Prevails in Published Court of Appeal Opinion Holding that a City's Erroneous...

JMBM has prevailed in the Court of Appeal on behalf of its client in a well-publicized and hotly-contested development project in the City of Los Angeles. The court's published opinion will come as welcome relief to property...more

New California Court of Appeal Opinion Holds That Supreme Court's Seminal Nollan and Dolan Opinions do Not Apply Where a Permit...

The well-known "nexus" and "rough proportionality" tests from the United States Supreme Court's opinions in Nollan v. California Coastal Commission, 483 U.S. 825 (1987) and Dolan v. City of Tigard, 512 U.S. 374 (1994) do not...more

Covenants In Lieu Of Unity Of Title; A Flexible Vehicle To Address Phased And Multi-Purposed Developments

For years, governmental agencies have wrestled with the concept of how to best regulate and control multi-phased and/or mixed-use developments which may result in multiple ownerships....more

Lake Associations Beware: Access Lots Pose Liability Issues

Lake associations often have control of lots which permit lake access by back-lot owners. Those lots are typically undeveloped, overgrown and only sporadically maintained. Most lake associations are managed by volunteers...more

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