Brad Kuhn is the Chair of Nossaman's Eminent Domain and Valuation Practice Group, likely the largest group of skilled eminent domain attorneys in California.
Mr. Kuhn places a particular emphasis on eminent domain, inverse condemnation, regulatory takings and valuation matters. He provides strategic advice to public agencies, property owners and businesses to creatively resolve complex land acquisition and valuation disputes through effective planning and litigation practices. Mr. Kuhn has successfully handled hundreds of condemnation matters, including some of the largest, multi-million dollar eminent domain and valuation cases in California.
Mr. Kuhn also has extensive experience handling a wide array of real estate and business litigation matters. He assists clients with land use, zoning, environmental and entitlement matters, along with landlord/tenant-related disputes and telecommunications siting issues.
The American Lawyer & Martindale-Hubbell have both recognized Mr. Kuhn as a "2013 Top Rated Lawyer in Land Use and Zoning." In 2012, 2013 and 2014, OC Metro/Orange County Register named Mr. Kuhn as one of the best Land Use/Zoning Law attorneys in Orange County. For the past five years, he has been recognized by Los Angeles magazine as a "Southern California Rising Star," a designation only given to the top 2.5% of attorneys in California. He is also AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest designation of professional excellence.
Mr. Kuhn frequently speaks at right-of-way and valuation industry organizations, such as the International Right of Way Association (IRWA), the Appraisal Institute, and the American Society of Appraisers. He serves on the Executive Board of the Riverside/San Bernardino Chapter of the IRWA. He also regularly writes articles on court decisions and policies impacting eminent domain for the Daily Journal, Law 360, and on the Firm's California Eminent Domain Report blog.
Public Agency Focus
Mr. Kuhn has worked on some of the largest public works projects in California, playing an active management role from the initial project planning and precondemnation acquisition process all the way through trial and appeal. He has advised public agency clients on a variety of infrastructure improvements, such as roadways, railroads, schools, bike paths and flood control projects. His project oversight and coordination ensures the necessary steps are taken to meet project construction schedules, thereby minimizing construction delays or the potential loss of project funding. His early involvement results in a high percentage of voluntary acquisitions at a significant cost savings, and where agreements cannot be reached, his agency clients see far fewer challenges to their right to take or their attempts to secure prejudgment possession.
San Bernardino County Transportation Commission Currently representing SBCTC with the acquisition of approximately 65 properties for the Downtown San Bernardino Passenger Rail Project and San Bernardino Transit Center, a proposed Metrolink commuter rail line between San Bernardino and Redlands.
Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority Currently assisting Expo with acquiring commercially developed properties in Santa Monica for the Expo Light Rail Transit Project, along with securing easements for street widenings and utility relocations.
San Diego Association of Governments Currently representing SANDAG with project planning, environmental approval, and right of way acquisitions for the Mid-Coast Corridor Transit Project, the Sorrento Valley Double Track Project, the South Bay BRT Project, and the Inland Rail Trails Project.
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Currently assisting MTA with acquiring property necessary for the LAX/Crenshaw Transit Corridor Project and the Westside Subway Extension (Purple Line).
SANBAG Represented SANBAG with acquiring portions of 150+ properties for the sbX E-Street Corridor Bus Rapid Transit Project, a 15.7-mile bus rapid transit line in the Inland Empire. Mr. Kuhn was able to secure possession of the entire right of way on an incredibly ambitious schedule to ensure the project secured necessary FTA funding. Mr. Kuhn also ensured all property rights were obtained under project budget.
Expo Construction Authority v. Patchett Represented Expo in a condemnation action to acquire property at the Bergamot Station Art Center in Santa Monica. Mr. Kuhn was able to secure early and favorable settlements with all but one defendant who operated an art gallery at the property and valued his damages at over $10.1 million. Mr. Kuhn served as lead trial attorney, successfully arguing a legal issues motion and motions in limine to exclude the business' real estate, goodwill, and inventory experts which eviscerated the business' claims. The case settled for less than 1% of the business' claim.
OCTA v. M&H Realty Partners Represented OCTA in an eminent domain and inverse condemnation action arising from the Placentia Avenue Grade Separation Project. The property owner and two national retail tenants, Home Depot and Sam's Club, cumulatively claimed nearly $100 million in damages due to OCTA's acquisition and the purported impacts on the ability to redevelop the site. All claims were resolved shortly before trial for approximately 3% of the claimed damages.
Expo v. 9000 Venice Partners Represented Expo in the condemnation of a portion of a retail shopping center. Mr. Kuhn was able to secure settlements with fourteen of the fifteen businesses on the property, and served as lead trial counsel in a three week jury trial as to a real estate claim by the property's owner and a goodwill claim by a Wendy's fast food restaurant. The jury verdict was exactly at Expo's severance damages figure as to the real estate, and nearly ten times less than the goodwill claim presented by the business. The total verdict was far less than Expo had offered to settle for before trial.
Los Angeles Unified School District v. Meruelo Maddux Properties Represented LAUSD in connection with the condemnation of a 24-acre industrial property The historic use of the property as a rail yard meant that the litigation encompassed issues of contamination, overlapping easements, and undocumented encroachments. After two years of litigation, including a court trial on a right-to-take challenge, the matter resolved at a mediation shortly before trial. The settlement, for $50 million, was tens of millions of dollars less than the owner's appraiser's valuation.
SANBAG v. Luga Represented SANBAG in an eminent domain action to acquire a portion of a gas station where the property/business owner was seeking compensation for nearly 10 times SANBAG's appraised value. On the first day of trial, the court granted SANBAG's motions in limine and excluded the owner's appraisers' severance damages opinions. The case then resolved for a nominal amount above SANBAG's appraised value (an amount far less than SANBAG's previously exchanged final offer of compensation).
Property Owner Focus
Mr. Kuhn represents a broad-range of property and business owners in California, including (i) large corporations and developers, (ii) family businesses, and (iii) owners of vacant land, multi-family, commercial and industrial properties. Some of his clients include Valero/Ultramar, Sprint/Nextel Corporation, T-Mobile, Outback Steakhouse, Napa Valley Wine Train, KinderCare Learning Centers, and franchisees of well-known chains like Subway, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Golden Spoon.
Winchester 700 v. Western Riverside County Regional Conservation Authority Represented the owner of a 454-acre property in Riverside County that the RCA sought for conservation purposes. The RCA and the County refused to process Winchester's development entitlements, yet they never made an offer to purchase, instead "de facto" conserving the property. Under threat of an inverse condemnation action, Mr. Kuhn assisted Winchester in an arbitration in which the RCA presented appraisal testimony of a value below $30 million. After completion of the arbitration, the parties reached a settlement by which the RCA paid more than $70 million.
Makar Properties v. City of Huntington Beach Represented developer in connection with a dispute regarding the value of Makar's "Pacific City" property, which value determined the park-in-lieu fee to be paid as part of its development. The parties were nearly $50 million apart in their valuation figures. Mr. Kuhn assisted Makar at binding arbitration where the three judge panel awarded a value exactly at Makar's appraisal testimony, which equated to a savings of $20 million in park fees.
Caltrans v. Northridge Properties Represented Burbank property owner in an eminent domain action filed by Caltrans as part of its I-5 widening project. Caltrans initially offered $1.8 million for the partial acquisition of the multi-acre property. The matter settled days before trial for $4.5 million.
Caltrans v. Bayport Imperial Promenade Represented several restaurant businesses suffering loss of business goodwill as a result of Caltrans' Imperial Highway grade separation project. After Caltrans made no offer of compensation, two matters settled at mediation for a total of nearly half-a-million dollars, while two matters proceeded to a jury trial. At trial, Mr. Kuhn successfully excluded Caltrans' goodwill appraiser, and subsequent to the jury's verdict, Caltrans settled the case by paying a substantial portion of the business' attorneys' fees.
Wren v. Sprint PCS Assets Defended Sprint in litigation filed by a property owner alleging trespass, nuisance, fraud, quiet title, and various other real property claims arising out of Sprint's use of an access easement. On the first day of trial, the property owner entirely dismissed its claims against Sprint in exchange for a waiver of costs.
Lincoln Center, LLC v. Ross Dress for Less, Inc. Represented commercial shopping center landlord in a lease dispute with a large, national tenant. Following the filing of an unlawful detainer action and extensive discovery, the parties settled just weeks before trial, resulting in a new lease on substantially more favorable terms for the landlord.
Wham-O, Inc. v. Burke, et al. Defended owners of a start-up company in an action brought by Wham-O for alleged misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of contract, intentional interference with business, and unfair competition. After 18 months of hotly contested litigation, the case was resolved through a favorable settlement.