Just Compensation Under California Law for Temporary Severance Damages and Impairment of Access
Daniel Mansueto is Counsel at Zuber, Lawler & Del Duca. From 2005 to 2015 he was Deputy Attorney at the California Department of Transportation.
In eminent domain and inverse condemnation litigation, an issue commonly arises as to whether the owner of a commercial property is entitled to recover for disruption occurring during the course of the construction of a public project. The disruption typically results from drilling and excavation, storage of materials and heavy equipment, road closures, and/or detours. The property owner will sometimes claim that such disruption, due to impairment of access or for other reasons, will cause (a) lost rents, (b) lost business revenues, and/or (c) diminution in the value of the property. In addition, owners of nearby commercial properties the public entity is not acquiring may make analogous claims on an inverse condemnation theory. This article discusses if and when these types of eminent domain and inverse condemnation claims are compensable under California law. In the course of doing so, it also delineates when permanent impairment of access resulting from the finished project or a permanent street closure is compensable.
I. OVERVIEW OF JUST COMPENSATION RIGHTS