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Nossaman LLP

Steven R. Guess

Staff Attorney

T 949.477.7649
F 949.833.7878
18101 Von Karman Avenue, Suite 1800
Irvine, CA 92612

Steven R. Guess is an attorney who concentrates his practice in eminent domain, inverse condemnation and real estate litigation. Mr. Guess has handled all aspects of litigation relating to eminent domain and right of way matters, as well as litigated cases involving the California Public Records Act, Proposition 218, water rights, election Law, breach of contract, landlord-tenant, disparagement of title, and construction defects. He has represented both public agencies and private property owners in eminent domain proceedings involving business goodwill, severance damages, relocation, precondemnation damages, and right to take challenges.

Prior to working at Nossaman, Mr. Guess worked as Deputy City Attorney for the City of Riverside.  He has also worked as a Judicial Extern for the Honorable Stuart Pollak in the California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, as well as for the Honorable Susan Illston in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

In 2018, Mr. Guess was selected to Rising Stars.

Representative Work

  • San Bernardino County Transportation Authority.  Member of the team representing SBCTA in its acquisition of a number of properties as part of the Redlands Passenger Rail Project, a $275 million 9-mile passenger rail service extension between the City of San Bernardino and the City of Redlands.
  • San Diego Association of Governments.  Member of the team representing SANDAG as part of its $2.1 billion Mid-Coast Corridor Transit Project, which will extend the San Diego Trolley from downtown San Diego and the University City community.
  • Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation.  Member of the team assisting HART with acquiring complex, high-value parcels as part of its Honolulu Rail Transit Project, a $6.7 billion passenger rail project that will provide a 20-mile rail corridor with twenty-one(21) new transit stations and a maintenance and storage facility.
  • City of Los Angeles/Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA).  Member of the team representing LAWA with property acquisitions that are a part of the LAX Master Plan which will bring LAWA in compliance with Airport Noise Compatibility Planning Regulations and the California Airport Noise Standards.
  • South Coast Water District v. Lester C. Smull.°  Lead trial attorney for a public agency defending against a property owner’s $2.75 million eminent domain claim.  Mr. Guess handled all aspects of the litigation culminating in a three and a half week complex jury trial.  The trial involved five expert witnesses, two percipient witnesses, twelve motions in limine and approximately 530 trial exhibits.  The jury’s verdict as to the amount of just compensation for the taking was only $191,000, a small fraction of the amount demanded by the property owner and an amount that included no compensation for permanent severance damages.
  • Kent Ebinger v. Yorba Linda Water District.°  In a case that made statewide news, Mr. Guess served as lead trial attorney for a public agency that successfully defended against a challenge to a water rate increase valued at approximately $8 million in annual revenue.  The petitioners sought to put the water rate increase up to a public referendum.  The Court ruled that the water rate increase was subject to an emergency exception to referendum case law and that the public agency had sufficiently demonstrated that without the rate increase it could potentially go into default on its debt obligations.

° The above matters were handled by Mr. Guess prior to his joining Nossaman LLP.

Awards & Honors

Selected to the Rising Stars list for 2018

Steven R. Guess
Steven R. Guess



J.D., University of California, Hastings College of the Law, 2010, Co-Editor-in-Chief, Hastings Business Law Journal

B.A., University of California, Berkeley, 2005



U.S. District Court, Central District of California

Professional Affiliations

Orange County Bar Association

Board Member, Legal Aid Society of Orange County (2011-2017)

Awards & Honors

Selected to the Rising Stars list for 2018

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