Property Reserve, Inc. v. Superior Court

Facts: A government entity seeks to conduct environmental and geological tests and studies on privately owned raw land to review for possible future acquisition through eminent domain. The geological tests require the landowner provide access to the land for up to two months over the course of one year. The government deposits probable compensation with the court in case their actions result in damage to the land and the property is not acquired. The landowner denies the government access to the property on the grounds that the geological tests are so large in scope as to constitute a temporary blanket easement and do not fall under the entry statute provision of eminent domain law.

Claim: The government seeks access to the property, claiming entrance to conduct environmental and geological tests and studies is lawful since probable compensation was deposited with the court and the scope of the tests is irrelevant when evaluating the legality of entry statutes.

Counterclaim: The landowner claims it is unlawful for the government to conduct extensive environmental and geological tests on their land since the tests are so damaging as to constitute a taking of their property.

Holding: The California Supreme Court holds the environmental and geological tests do not constitute a taking and the government may access the property for the purpose of conducting any tests since probable compensation for damages has been deposited with the court, making the large scale of the surveys irrelevant. [Property Reserve, Inc. v. Superior Court (July 21, 2016 __C4th__]

Read the case text.

Related article:

Do pre-eminent domain surveying actions constitute a taking of property entitling the owner to compensation?