The following is a description of the cases that Dale Zeitlin has handled:

Jury Awards Nearly $3M in Damages For Loss of Access Caused by Light Rail

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In October 2016, Dale Zeitlin tried to a Maricopa County jury the issue of whether the taking of access from a property located in downtown Phoenix damaged the property.

 

The property was a rectangular shaped property located in downtown Phoenix across from the Phoenix Sun’s arena. The property consisted of about 35,000 square feet.

 

In 2007, the City of Phoenix constructed the light rail line in front of the Garretson property. The light rail was constructed entirely within the City of Phoenix right of way for Jefferson Street. The construction of the light rail did not take any portion of  Garretson’s property, but had the effect of blocking access to Jefferson Street. Garretson continued to have access along two other roads, First Street and Madison Street.

 

In 2009, the City of Phoenix filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that because there had been no taking of land and because Garretson’s property continued to have access to other streets, the fact that the light rail blocked Jefferson Street access was not a compensable taking of a property right. The trial court agreed with the City and held that the only property right was one to the street system and not a particular street. Garretson appealed the ruling to the Arizona Court of Appeals, which reversed the trial court’s decision. The Supreme Court of Arizona then accepted a petition for review because the issue of the taking of access was an issue of state wide concern. The State of Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) filed a brief that argued Mr. Garretson should not be paid for the elimination of access.

 

The Supreme Court agreed with Garretson that the elimination of access to Jefferson Street was a taking of a property right and a compensable interest. The Supreme Court remanded the case to the trial court, with instructions that a jury should determine the amount of damages, if any, the property suffered as a result of the loss of Jefferson Street access.

 

At trial, the City argued that the property did not suffer damages because, according to the City’s experts, the property had the same value with Jefferson Street access as without it. The jury rejected the City’s case, and found that Garretsons’ property had decreased in value in the amount of nearly $3M due solely to the loss of Jefferson Street access. The jury found Garretson’s architectural and appraisal evidence compelling. Under Arizona law, prejudgment interest is tacked on to the judgment, so that Garretson will receive nearly $4M as total just compensation.

 

The case is important as it requires a government (state, county, municipal) to pay a landowner for the loss of access. This means that in every eminent domain and condemnation case that results in a change of access, a property owner should look at whether the loss of access has reduced the value of his property

 

See article in the Arizona Republic here.

 

Supreme Court to Consider Eminent Domain Implications of Exactions Sought for Development Permit

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The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case brought by a Florida landowner who, in exchange for issuance of a dredge and fill permit on land he owned in a habitat protection zone, was required to perform mitigation on government land. The government’s land was miles away from the landowner’s and the mitigation requirement bore no connection to the landowner’s project’s impacts on the habitat protection zone in which landowner’s property was located. The Florida Supreme Court, in reversing the holdings of the lower courts in the inverse condemnation case filed by the landowner, held that the mitigation requirement was not a taking because the U. S. Supreme Court’s holdings in prior cases that addressed eminent domain issues in the context of government exactions, Nollan v. California Coastal Commission and Dolan v. Tigard, apply only to forced dedications by a landowner of property or interests in property, and the cases do not apply where the government denies a permit, but only when a government issues a permit with conditions attached to it.

The Supreme Court’s holding in St. Johns River Water Management District v. Koontz should clarify the extent to which limitations imposed by the Constitution’s taking clause, as set forth in prior Supreme Court cases, apply to landowners upon whom governments are imposing coercive property exactions.

Wood v. City of Goodyear (2012)

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Suit filed by the Wood Family to recover from the City of Goodyear for infrastructure improvements the Woods were obligated to make for a ballpark. The Woods alleged that the City was unjustly enriched because it received the improvements without paying for them. Case was settled in favor of the Wood Family for $1.2 million.


State of Arizona (ADOT) v. Benross (2010)

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An eminent domain case where a group of landowners’ properties were being taken for the Loop 303 freeway. The case was settled for additional compensation of approximately $12,000,000.


 

City of Scottsdale v. Toll Brothers (2008) (Jury Trial)

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An eminent domain case where the City condemned approximately 384 acres for a preserve. The City appraised the property for $33,800,000. The trial lasted three weeks. The jury awarded nearly $82,000,000. In addition, Toll was entitled to statutory interest, which added over $9,000,000 on top of the jury award.

State of Arizona (“ADOT”) v. Canyon Oaks (2005)

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Eminent domain action in which ADOT appraised vacant land for $7,700,000. The case was settled with ADOT prior to trial for $15,800,000.

Salt River Project v. Sanichara (2010) (Jury trial)

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SRP condemned a portion of land from Mr. Sanichara’s property for a high voltage overhead electric transmission line. SRP appraised the property taken for $75,000, but according to its appraisal, the remaining property was not damaged by the transmission line. Contrary to SRP’s position, we believed that SRP’s transmission line had damaged the remaining property. The jury agreed and found that the landowner was entitled to just compensation in the amount of $335,000. The court awarded statutory interest in addition to the jury award.

City of Phoenix v. Merrill (2005)

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Eminent domain action in which the City of Phoenix appraised the leased fee at $875,000. The case settled prior to trial for $2,260,000.

City of Peoria v. Airport/Peoria “36” (Jury Trial 2005)

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The City of Peoria appraised property for $1,325,000. The case was tried to a jury and the jury awarded $2,949,813.16. With additional interest, the award for total just compensation was $3,516,000.

State of Arizona (“ADOT”) v. Gateway (2004)

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In this eminent domain case, ADOT appraised vacant land for $4,600,000. Dale Zeitlin settled the case prior to trial for a little over $13,000,000, plus ADOT agreed to improve the access to the client’s remaining property.

City of Scottsdale v. Skyridge (2004)

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The City of Scottsdale condemned a 40 acre vacant land parcel for a preservation project and appraised it at $5,000,000. The case was settled prior to trial for $9,300,000.

City of Scottsdale v. Ancala (2004)

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The City of Scottsdale condemned a 24 acre parcel of vacant land and appraised it at $3,400,000. The case was settled prior to trial for $7,600,000.

City of Glendale v. Brown (2002)

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The City of Glendale condemned a 1.5 acre vacant land parcel for a pump station and sewage treatment facility and appraised the property for $163,900. Dale Zeitlin convinced the City to purchase all of his client’s property for $4.50 per square foot, which equaled approximately $4,000,000.

Maricopa County Stadium District v. Downtown Phoenix Partners (Jury Trial 2000)

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In this eminent domain case, the County offered the client $900,000 for the taking of a 2 acre parcel of vacant land located at 6th Street and Jefferson in downtown Phoenix. The taking was for the construction of a baseball stadium. After a three week jury trial, the jury awarded the landowner $4,663,100, the full amount of the appraisal submitted on behalf of Dale Zeitlin’s client. The actual payment to the landowner was $7,200,000.

Maricopa County Stadium District v. King Onion (1995)

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In this eminent domain case, the County offered the client $1,800,000 for an 80 year old warehouse in downtown Phoenix. The offer included $500,000 for relocation benefits. The case was settled before trial for $6,220,000.

United States v. Pleasant County (1994 United States District Court, District of Arizona)

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In this federal eminent domain case, the United States appraised the clients’ property for $4,500,000. The case was settled before trial for $10,800,000.

Maricopa County v. Salamandick Investments (2000)

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The Maricopa County Department of Transportation condemned 25 acres from a 150 vacant parcel of land located near El Mirage for a parkway. The County offered the landowner $450,000. The parties agreed to mediation, and during the mediation Dale Zeitlin convinced the County that the remaining 125 acres were badly damaged. The County agreed to purchase the remaining property, and the total payment to the landowner was approximately $5,500,000.

United States v. Berman (Jury Trial 1990)

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The United States Department of Defense was taking approximately 250 acres. The United States was represented by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Department of Justice and the case was tried in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. The Government’s offer was $7,700,000. After 3 weeks of trial, the case settled for $26,000,000.

Baltimore County v. Meadowood, Inc. (Jury Trial 2002)

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Baltimore County condemned a 96 acre parcel of land and offered $885,000. After a one week jury trial, the jury awarded $4,300,000. With interest, the judgment was approximately $5,000,000.

State of Maryland v. Curtis (2001)

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The State Highway Administration condemned approximately 9 acres of land and offered $555,000. The case was settled on behalf of the client before trial for $4,000,000.

State of Maryland v. Braun (1999)

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This eminent domain case involved the taking of approximately 13 acres by the State Highway Administration of a 52 acre parcel of land for a new highway. The State appraised the 13 acres at $1,100,000. Dale Zeitlin alleged that the property not taken suffered damages caused by the highway bifurcating the property. The case was settled for $3,200,000.

Arizona Department of Transportation v. D.R. Horton (2000)

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In this inverse condemnation, ADOT acquired certain access rights from a vacant land parcel owned by D.R. Horton. ADOT contended that it did not owe any money for the taking of these access rights. This matter was settled before trial for $1,350,000.

Arizona Department of Transportation v. Cornforth (2000)

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ADOT condemned approximately 6.2 acres of land and offered $1,452,084. This case was settled on behalf of the clients for $2,722,657.50

Arizona Department of Transportation v. Dynex (2001)

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ADOT condemned approximately 6 acres of vacant land in Bullhead City, Arizona, and originally offered $591,200 for the property. The client tried to settle with ADOT for $700,000 before hiring Dale Zeitlin. ADOT rejected the client’s offer. Dale Zeitlin settled with ADOT prior to trial for $1,440,609.33.

Arizona Department of Transportation v. Cornell (2000)

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ADOT condemned approximately 15 acres of land and offered $508,500. The case was settled for $1,387,903.

Arizona Department of Transportation v. Sinfa (2001)

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ADOT took a tiny sliver from this property and offered $7,200. The case was settled prior to trial for $94,068.42. Although the taking was de minimus, Dale Zeitlin argued that the taking impaired access to the remaining property, thereby creating severance damages

State Highway Administration v. Mid-Atlantic Builders (Jury Trial 2001)

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The Maryland State Highway Administration originally offered $258,000 for a partial taking of approximately 4.5 acres. The case was tried this case to a jury in Prince Georges County. The jury awarded $1,043,550, plus interest, bringing the total judgment to $1,239,000.

Maricopa County Flood Control District v. Wagner (1997)

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The Flood Control District condemned land located in the Gila River and appraised the property for $702,000. The case was settled prior to jury selection for $2,300,000.

Maricopa County Flood Control District v. Hintze

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In an inverse condemnation case, where the Flood Control District initially argued it owed nothing, the case ultimately settled for $800,000.

United States v. The Inn at Antietam (Jury Trial 1997)

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The United States condemned a bed and breakfast and surrounding property offering the owners $80,000. The matter was tried to a jury in the federal district court in Baltimore, Maryland, and the jury verdict was $792,000.

State of Maryland v. Park 100 Limited Partnership (1996)

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The State Highway Administration condemned 16 acres of industrially zoned property located in Anne Arundel County from a 100 acre parcel. The Administration appraised the property for $789,000. Dale Zeitlin settled this case for $6,289,000.

State of Maryland v. Konterra (1995)

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This eminent domain case involved the taking of approximately 20 acres from a 270 acre industrial zoned parcel of land. The Maryland State Highway Administration valued the property at $400,000 with no severance damages. The case was settled for $4,100,000, and the State agreed to build access into the client’s remaining property.

State of Maryland v. Vogel Farm Partnership (1995)

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This eminent domain case involved the taking of approximately 7 acres from a 100 acre residential zoned parcel of land. The Maryland Highway Administration valued the property at $197,050 with no severance damages. The case was settled for $1,950,000.

State of Maryland v. Cromwell (1994)

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In this Maryland eminent domain case the State Highway Administration offered $10,500,000 to our client. Dale Zeitlin settled this case for approximately $22,000,000. The focus of the valuation was the deprivation of value due to loss of access. Dale Zeitlin not only handled the case as the trial lawyer, but also did all of the valuation analysis. The case was settled before an expert appraiser was hired.

State of Maryland v. Seven Oaks (1991)

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This case, filed in Anne Arundel Circuit Court, Annapolis, Maryland, involved the taking of approximately 30 acres of property for which the State Highway Administration originally offered $1,300,000. The case was settled just before trial for $7,800,000.

State Highway Administration v. Legum (1993)

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This eminent domain case was filed in Anne Arundel Circuit Court, Annapolis, Maryland. The State Highway Administration offered $3,500,000 for land. Dale Zeitlin settled this case on the eve of trial for $8,800,000 plus additional land valued at approximately $1,000,000, for a total settlement of approximately $9,800,000.

The Hopi Tribe v. Navajo Nation (Bench Trials 1992)

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Four week trial in United States District Court, District of Arizona involving three separate cases consolidated for trial. These three cases were originally filed in 1979, and were handled by various law firms in Phoenix and in Washington, D.C. Zeitlin & Zeitlin was hired by the Navajos in 1990. The Hopi claims when Dale Zeitlin entered the case were for approximately $200,000,000. Prior to trial the Hopi claims were successfully reduced to approximately $63,000,000.

Arizona Department of Transportation v. Valley Citrus (1986)

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Property located at 83rd Avenue and Bell Road. ADOT offered $6,000,000, Dale Zeitlin settled the case for $10,000,000.

Arizona Department of Transportation v. Tang (1988-89)

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Property was taken at Beardsley and I-17 in Phoenix. ADOT offered approximately $3,250,000, and Dale Zeitlin settled the case for approximately $6,600,000.

Arizona Department of Transportation v. GTE (1988-89).

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ADOT offered $900,000 for property to be taken. Dale Zeitlin settled the case for $1,800,000.

Arizona Department of Transportation v. Intel.

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ADOT offered approximately $3,000,000 for property taken and Dale Zeitlin settled the case for approximately $6,000,000.

Arizona Department of Transportation v. Royal Palms Apartments

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ADOT offered property owner $900,000. Dale Zeitlin settled the case for $1,900,000.