Appellant land owners sought review from the Superior Court of San Diego County (California), which authorized respondent, City of San Diego, to take possession of condemned land owned by appellants, pursuant to Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 631.8. The court additionally held that appellants were not entitled to compensation for lost goodwill in the consolidated eminent domain action.

Appellant land owners operated business upon parcels of land that respondent, City of San Diego, was authorized to take possession of and condemn. In consolidated eminent domain action, the lower court held that appellants were not entitled to compensation for lost goodwill, pursuant to Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 1263.510. The court determined that there was no exclusive method for determining the value of the loss of goodwill in eminent domain proceedings. The Defense lawyer held that the lower court acted within its discretion in striking appellant's witness' testimony regarding valuation methodology because the witness' approach had not established the existence or loss of goodwill, pursuant to Cal. Evid. Code §§ 801 and 803. The court held that the trial court was vested with considerable discretion in admitting or rejecting evidence in a condemnation proceeding. The court affirmed the judgment of the lower court.

The court affirmed the judgment of the lower court which held that appellant land owners were not entitled to compensation for lost goodwill when respondent, City of San Diego, took possession and condemned their land. The court held that, pursuant to statutory intent, there was no exclusive method for determining the value of loss of goodwill and that appellants' witness failed to establish their loss of goodwill.

Plaintiff consumer group alleged under California's Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, Health and Saf. Code, § 25249.5 et seq., that defendant oil company allowed benzene, toluene, and lead to leak into drinking water. The Superior Court of Los Angeles County, California, granted summary judgment to the company, based on the preclusive effect of a settlement in a similar suit by a different group. The consumer group appealed.

The court held that the oil company was not entitled to full summary judgment or to summary adjudication on the basis that the action was barred by res judicata. Claim preclusion applied to private enforcement actions under Health and Saf. Code, § 25249.7, as long as due process and the traditional elements of res judicata were satisfied, but the primary right in the current action differed from the primary right in the settled action: the current complaint alleged violations based on benzene, toluene, and lead, while the prior complaint and settlement concerned benzene and toluene, but not lead. For the guidance of the trial court, the court found that the settling group provided constitutionally adequate representation to satisfy the privity element of res judicata. Although the agreement did not mention the public as a party to be bound, it involved remedial measures, not payments of penalties to the settling group, indicating, together with the stated intent to act as a private attorney general, that the settling group was representing the interests of the general public, not just its own interests. The current consumer group did not have an individual property right at stake.

 

The court reversed the judgment and remanded the matter to the trial court for further proceedings.

Author's Bio: 

Marina Pal is a renowned author and social media enthusiast.