Young’s Market Company v. Superior Court

Facts: A local government seeks to conduct noninvasive environmental tests on a commercial property to determine whether to take the property through eminent domain. The owner is able to continue business on the property for the duration of the tests. The tests are limited to ten business days and a small amount of money is set aside as just compensation for the owner if the property is not taken but the inspections cause any unforeseen damage.

Claim: The owner seeks to classify the government’s pre-eminent domain surveying actions as a taking of their land entitling them to greater compensation, claiming the tests are equivalent to a permanent occupation since the samples taken will result in a lasting disruption of business operations.

Counterclaim: The government claims their surveying actions are not equivalent to a taking and the property owner is not entitled to additional compensation since the environmental inspections are temporary and will not interrupt business operations or cause a loss of profits.

Holding: A California appeals court holds the environmental tests the government seeks to conduct do not constitute a taking and the owner is not entitled to greater compensation since the surveys are temporary and unobtrusive, and funds as just compensation will be deposited to cover any unforeseen damage or money losses. [Young’s Market Company v. Superior Court (2015) 242 CA4th 356]

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