CACI 3500 Introductory Instruction

California Civil Jury Instructions CACI

3500 Introductory Instruction

Public agencies such as the [name of condemnor] have the right to take private property for public use if they pay the owner just compensation.

Sources and Authority

Constitutional Right of Eminent Domain. Article I, section 19, of the California Constitution.

Just Compensation. The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Acquisition of Property for Public Use. Code of Civil Procedure section 1240.010.

“The power of eminent domain arises as an inherent attribute of sovereignty that is necessary for government to exist. Properly exercised, the eminent domain power effects a compromise between the public good for which private land is taken, and the protection and indemnification of private citizens whose property is taken to advance that public good. The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution, made applicable to the states by the Fourteenth Amendment, and California Constitution, article I, section 19 require this protection of private citizens’ property.” (Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority v. Hensler (2000) 83 Cal.App.4th 556, 561 [99 Cal.Rptr.2d 729], internal citation omitted.)

“Our Constitution thus guarantees landowners the right to have a jury determine the amount of just compensation owed for a taking.” (City of Perris v. Stamper (2016) 1 Cal.5th 576, 593 [205 Cal.Rptr.3d 797, 376 P.3d 1221].)

“This ‘just compensation’ clause in the California Constitution applies to the state’s exercise of its eminent domain power, constraining it by requiring that when the state takes private property for public use, the private property owner is justly compensated.” (City of Oroville v. Superior Court (2019) 7 Cal.5th 1091, 1102 [250 Cal.Rptr.3d 803, 446 P.3d 304].)

“ ‘An inverse condemnation action is an eminent domain proceeding initiated by the property owner rather than the condemner. The principles which affect the parties’ rights in an inverse condemnation suit are the same as those in an eminent domain action.’ ” (Customer Co. v. City of Sacramento (1995) 10 Cal.4th 368, 377, fn. 4 [41 Cal.Rptr.2d 658, 895 P.2d 900], internal citations omitted.)

“The principle sought to be achieved by this concept ‘is to reimburse the owner for the property interest taken and to place the owner in as good a position pecuniarily as if the property had not been taken.’ ” (Redevelopment Agency of the City of Long Beach v. First Christian Church of Long Beach (1983) 140 Cal.App.3d 690, 705 [189 Cal.Rptr. 749], internal citation omitted, disapproved on other grounds in Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority v. Continental Development Corp. (1997) 16 Cal.4th 694, 720–721 [66 Cal.Rptr.2d 630, 941 P.2d 809].)

“We have long held that this jury right applies only to determining the appropriate amount of compensation, not to any other issues that arise in the course of condemnation proceedings.” (City of Perris, supra, 1 Cal.5th at p. 593.)

“Although the measure of compensation that is ‘just’ for purposes of both the federal and state takings clause is often determined by the ‘fair market value’ of what has been lost, both federal and state takings cases uniformly recognize that the fair market value standard is not applicable in all circumstances and that there is no rigid or fixed standard that is appropriate in all settings.” (Property Reserve, Inc. v. Superior Court (2016) 1 Cal.5th 151, 203−204 [204 Cal.Rptr.3d 770, 375 P.3d 887].)

Secondary Sources

8 Witkin, Summary of California Law (11th ed. 2017) Constitutional Law, §§ 1360, 1367
1 Condemnation Practice in California (Cont.Ed.Bar 3d ed.) § 4.1
1 Nichols on Eminent Domain, Ch. 1, The Nature, Origin, Evolution and Characteristics of the Power, §§ 1.1, 1.11 (Matthew Bender)
20 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 247, Eminent Domain and Inverse Condemnation, § 247.12 (Matthew Bender)