BLOG: Condemnation Law

Highlands Act Withstands Another Round of Legal Attacks

by: Anthony F. Della Pelle
26 Aug 2011
New Jersey appellate courts, in a series of published and unpublished opinions, recently addressed a variety of issues raised by the adoption of the Highlands Regional Master Plan (RMP) as required by the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act (the Highlands Act), N.J.S.A. 13:20-1 to -35.  The Council, on July 17, 2008, adopted the RMP... Read More

Jersey City McGinley Square Redevelopment – Citizen Asks: Et Tu Brutus?

by: Joseph Grather
26 Aug 2011
Following on the footsteps of last week’s removal of the McGinley Square Redevelopment Plan from the Jersey City Council’s agenda, is this impassioned letter to the editor reported by the Jersey City Independent.  Even though the plan was removed from the Council’s agenda, this citizen asks that eminent domain be removed from any version of... Read More

Constitution "Alive and Well" in Virginia

by: Joseph Grather
25 Aug 2011
The Virginia DOT will be forced to pay for what it took from farmer Ed Jennings.  In a rare “inverse condemnation” (where a property owner sues government to compensate for a taking), the judge found that run-off from a bridge over the property owner’s land, and mounds of construction debris deposited on the land were... Read More

Jersey City: About Face!

by: Anthony F. Della Pelle
12 Aug 2011
Jersey City Hears McGinley Square Residents’ Eminent Domain Complaints – Withdraws Redevelopment Plan from Agenda Less than 24 hours after the Jersey City Planning Board recommended that a redevelopment area be designated that would authorize the use of eminent domain, a proposed resolution and ordinance to accept the Planning Board’s recommendation and approve a redevelopment plan... Read More

Electricity Shocks Property Owners, But Not The Court

by: Joseph Grather
11 Aug 2011
Shock Treatment Insufficient to Constitute Inverse Condemnation Yesterday, a New Jersey appellate court affirmed a jury verdict awarding $195,000 in “nuisance” damages to a Brick Township couple, but refused to reverse the trial court’s finding that an electric utility company’s stray “neutral to earth” voltage running rampant through their backyard was insufficient to amount to taking. Smith v. Jersey Central... Read More

Redevelopment Beginning at Former NL Industries Site

by: Joseph Grather
8 Aug 2011
The 427 acre industrial site in Sayreville formerly owned by chemical manufacturer NL Industries – seen by millions every summer as they cross the Driscoll Bridge on their way down the shore – is finally being “redeveloped.”  As pointed out in this article, dredged spoils are being imported to fill the site as part of... Read More

Watch Out, Olympia!

by: Joseph Grather
3 Aug 2011
From news across the nation, comes this article from Olympia, Washington.  “Call it Blighted and Get it Help.”  Help is clearly in the eyes of the beholder. The “blight” designation may ultimately help “redevelop” Olympia’s downtown, but take it from this New Jersey attorney, it’s not good for property owners in the downtown area.  The blight... Read More

Expert’s “Gut Feeling” on Costs Survives Dismissal Claim

by: Anthony F. Della Pelle
11 Jul 2011
An expert witness’s “gut feeling” about the cost of a plaintiff’s construction claim was sufficient to withstand a motion to dismiss according to a recent New Jersey Appellate Division opinion.  The holding in Nevins v. Toll Brothers, Inc., has the potential to affect similar motions in real estate valuation litigation such as eminent domain and real estate... Read More

South Carolina: Attorneys' Fees Can't Be "Taken"

by: Anthony F. Della Pelle
27 Jun 2011
Court Holds Appointed Attorneys’ Time is Compensable Property  As our colleague from Hawaii, Robert Thomas, recently posted in his excellent blog,, the South Carolina Supreme Court has ruled that an attorney’s services constitute a property right which entitles the attorney to just compensation under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment.  An appointed attorney sought removal as appointed counsel... Read More

California Town Tries the Back Door

by: Anthony F. Della Pelle
17 Jun 2011
Organizations Claim National City, CA Now Attacking Businesses through Rezoning Rather than Eminent Domain Following a successful challenge by the Community Youth Athletic Center – a club where teenagers train in boxing and receive tutoring for school classes – to a blight designation, National City, California, has decided instead to rezone the redevelopment area.  However,... Read More