COSTA MESA – Rutan & Tucker’s successful representation of a property owner in a precedent-setting condemnation case has been named No. 1 by California Real Property Journal in its Top Ten Real Property Cases of 2003.
The case, City of San Diego v. Rancho Penasquitos Partnership, is detailed in the current edition of the Journal, a publication of the Real Property Law Section of the State Bar of California. It established that a government agency cannot adopt measures that artificially depress the value of a property, and then turn around and acquire that property at the lowered price through eminent domain. The ruling was upheld on appeal. The Partnership was represented in the case by Rutan & Tucker partners Jeffrey Oderman and Douglas Dennington of the firm’s Condemnation and Property Valuation Practice Group.
“We are very pleased and grateful that our efforts on behalf of this property owner have been recognized by California Real Property Journal and by the larger community of attorneys and property owners,” said Oderman, adding, “The case is about fundamental fairness: the court quite properly ruled that the government shouldn't be permitted to first use its zoning powers to depress the value of an owner’s land and then swoop in with its condemnation powers to acquire that same land for a fraction of what it’s really worth.”
Oderman and Dennington were able to obtain for the Partnership an award of $3,906,210 for the property taken, more than three times the city’s valuation of $1,285,200. The court also awarded attorneys’ fees to the property owner.
Rutan & Tucker, with roots going back to 1906 and headquartered in Costa Mesa, is the oldest and largest full-service law firm headquartered in Orange County. The firm also has offices in the Silicon Valley. Its primary practice areas include municipal and government agency law, business and real estate litigation, corporate and securities law, labor and employment law, intellectual property, real estate and land use law, bankruptcy, condemnation and property valuation, environmental law, and taxation and estate planning.