Since 1986, the Law Offices of Daral B. Mazzarella, APC has represented landowners in matters involving eminent domain and inverse condemnations throughout San Diego and the surrounding areas, including Encinitas, Chula Vista, La Mesa, El Cajon, Santee, and Poway.
Eminent Domain & Inverse Condemnations
Under both federal and California laws, governmental agencies have the power to take a person's private real estate, with or without the owner's consent, for public use through the power of eminent domain. When the government exercises this power, the landowner is entitled by the Constitution to receive just compensation for the value of the property taken.
Inverse condemnation is another form of governmental taking where the government has not made an offer of compensation and the property owner must file a lawsuit to obtain his or her just compensation. Inverse condemnation actions are often brought when the government has limited use of private land to the extent that the land's value is greatly reduced, such as by overly restrictive zoning or damage from a nearby project, or where the government has allowed the public to make use of private land.
The Law Offices of Daral B. Mazzarella regularly challenges the government's power to take properties under eminent domain. We assist clients in preventing governmental takings where the government did not take formal actions - such as issuing a declaration of public need, obtaining an appraisal, entering negotiations, and making an offer - in violation of the property owner's guaranteed due process rights. We also frequently assist property owners in challenging the government where properties were taken for a private use instead of a public use, and where owners did not receive just compensation for the taking.
Like any real estate buyer, the government may attempt to obtain real estate for the lowest purchase price possible. However, when the government takes property without paying the property owner just compensation, the owner may sue to require the government to pay the fair market value of the property.
Enforcing a property owner's right to receive just compensation can be a complex process. Daral B. Mazzarella has the skill and experience to ensure that a government entity does not undervalue your property by forcing it to consider all of the relevant factors, including the damage to the remainder of the property if all of it is not taken, the impact of the taking on a business's ability to continue operating, the impact of the taking on an owner's future costs, the costs of relocation, and the value of the taken property considering its highest and best use.
Highest and Best Use
When the government takes a property, it often considers the taken property's prior or current use and not necessarily the best possible use. Daral Mazzarella scrutinizes each eminent domain case with a critical eye, analyzing the possibilities of rezoning and using expert appraisers when necessary to determine the best use for a property that will allow his clients to recover the greatest possible compensation. For example, in one case the state offered a very small sum for 17 acres of land located along a freeway because it was being used by its owner for a residence. Once we determined that the property's most valuable use was for commercial purposes, the client's financial recovery was approximately ten times greater than the state's original offer.
When a government entity takes only a portion of a property, the severance of the land may cause damage to the remainder. For instance, setbacks might be eroded which prevent future development or subdivision, or access to the remaining property might be eliminated or made overly cumbersome, resulting in loss of value for the landowner. If the government fails to pay or undervalues severance damages to the remaining property, Daral Mazzarella can help by consulting appraisers who are experienced in eminent domain valuations and by enforcing his clients' rights through aggressive litigation.
Loss of Goodwill
When a business is displaced by a government taking, it may lose valuable goodwill. The business may also lose customers if they are unaware of the business's new location or if the new location is inconvenient. In some cases, the new location is not as suitable for the type of business as the original location. When a business loses goodwill due to a governmental taking, the owner is entitled to compensation for the impairment of business activities.
Seek Experienced Representation
By negotiating with government entities, obtaining the opinions of appraisers and business valuation experts, and pursuing just compensation in court, the Law Offices of Daral B. Mazzarella, APC has helped clients recover tens of millions of dollars. Contact us today for a free consultation.