By Wayne Lusvardi | Cal Watchdog
Pasadena is known for its famous tree-lined streets. It now also may be known for the trees becoming the key in the first case in California to establish that a city’s urban forestry programs can be subject to “inverse condemnation” lawsuits filed by property owners.
The case concerned the windstorm that swept through Pasadena in Nov. 2011, toppling 5,500 street trees. The legal decision was handed down Aug. 21 by California’s Second District Court of Appeal in favor of Mercury Casualty Company. The insurance company was acting on a claim by James O’Halloran, to whom it paid $293,000 for damage a fallen tree did to his home.
Eminent domain is the taking of private land by the government for public purposes, such as building a school. The Fifth Amendment mandates that “just compensation” must be paid for “private property taken for public use.”