December 20, 2009 -- Partners Sunny K. Soltani and June Ailin scored a huge victory in a jury trial in a condemnation action -- a jury verdict $4.1 million less than the property owner's appraised value.
In 2008 the Signal Hill Redevelopment Agency commenced a series of condemnation matters in order to clean up some of the inactive parts of the oil fields in the City, to eliminate blight and redevelop those underutilized parts of the City. The Agency commenced condemnation on 7 areas with multiple parcels. Partners Sunny K. Soltani and June Ailin took the lead on this multi-million dollar project. One area, the 700 Spring Street block, proved to be the biggest matter--about 6 acres with 26 owners.
The biggest parcel in this site, of approximately 1.5 acres was owned by Canadian Capital Corporation. The Agency's appraised value of this property was approximately $610,000. The property owner's appraised value was approximately $5 million. The core issue in the case was whether the property needed any environmental clean up and whether the abandoned oil wells needed to be reabandonded to current Department of Oil and Gas standards prior to development of the property. The property owner argued no environmental remediation was necessary. After a 2 week long jury trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the Agency for $880,000. The property owner has not appealed this verdict.