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Nossaman LLP

Bernadette M. Duran-Brown


T 949.833.7800
F 949.833.7878
18101 Von Karman Avenue, Suite 1800
Irvine, CA 92612

Ms. Duran-Brown is an eminent domain and real estate litigation attorney primarily focusing on eminent domain, inverse condemnation, regulatory takings and valuation matters.  She has partnered with numerous public agencies throughout California and regularly advises them on complex property acquisition on a variety of infrastructure projects, including railways, grade separations, bus rapid transit, schools, and flood control projects.  Ms. Duran-Brown has litigated issues related to entitlement to compensation, business goodwill claims, relocation issues, severance damages, precondemnation damages and the acquisition of personal property and intangible rights.

Ms. Duran-Brown plays an active role in project planning and implementation, from initial planning and the precondemnation acquisition process all the way through trial and appeal.  Her experience in 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.  Her team's early involvement results in a high percentage of voluntary acquisitions at a significant cost savings, and where agreements with property owners cannot be reached, her agency clients see far fewer challenges to their right to take or their attempts to secure prejudgment possession.

Ms. Duran-Brown has also worked on a broad-range of real estate matters and has extensive experience assisting clients on landlord/tenant, telecommunications, unlawful detainer, quiet title, land use, water rights and contractual disputes.

Representative Work

  • San Bernardino County Transportation Authority.  Currently representing SBCTA with the acquisition of approximately 65 properties for the Downtown San Bernardino Passenger Rail Project/San Bernardino Transit Center, a $128 million, 1-mile extension of Metrolink service in San Bernardino, and has commenced work on its Redlands Passenger Rail Project, a 9-mile extension of the Downtown Passenger Rail Project.
  • 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, and also represented SANDAG on 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 Metro with property acquisitions necessary for two light rail transit lines:  the $2+ billion LAX/Crenshaw Transit Corridor Project, an 8.5-mile light rail line with eight stations and the $6+ billion Westside Subway Extension Project (Purple Line), a 9-mile rail line with seven stations, which involve passenger rail lines running through dense, urban areas of Los Angeles.  The work includes acquiring numerous properties for transit stations, construction staging areas, and easement rights.
  • Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit.  Currently assisting HART with acquiring certain complex, high-value parcels and advising it on relocation issues for 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.
  • Southern California Edison Company.  Currently assisting Edison with acquiring property necessary for its Falcon Ridge Substation Project, which includes construction of a new substation and installation of 66 kV subtransmission lines and related appurtenances in the cities of Fontana, Rancho Cucamonga and Rialto.
  • Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority.  Assisted Expo with acquiring commercially developed properties in Santa Monica necessary for terminal stations for Phase II of the Project, along with securing easements for street widening and utility relocations.
  • San Bernardino Association of Governments.  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.  Ms. Duran-Brown was part of the team that was able to secure possession of the entire right of way on an incredibly ambitious schedule to ensure the project secured necessary FTA funding.  The team also ensured all property rights were obtained under project budget.
  • 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 owner and tenant claims were resolved shortly before trial for approximately 3% of the claimed damages. 
  • 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). 

Other Real Estate Litigation

  • Nextel adv. 801 S. Los Angeles, LLC.  Represented Nextel in an unlawful detainer action related to a cellular telecommunications facility.  Ms. Duran-Brown successfully briefed and argued a motion to quash service of the summons and the three-day-notice, which effectively concluded the matter and resulted in a dismissal by plaintiff. 
  • Nextel adv. Campbell.  Represented Nextel in a breach of contract action related to a former cellular telecommunications site.  Ms. Duran-Brown successfully settled the matter in mediation for a quarter of the compensation the plaintiffs were seeking from Nextel.
  • Natalie Anne Kotsch v. Hyo Koo Lee, et al.  Represented Ms. Kotsch regarding her complaint to quiet title by adverse possession, a feat rarely accomplished for an entire property, complete with improvements.  Ms. Duran-Brown successfully obtained a default judgment in Ms. Kotsch's favor, which awarded her legal title and ownership of the home and property she had occupied since 2002.

Awards & Honors

Named a Super Lawyers "Southern California Rising Star" in 2014-2017 by Los Angeles magazine

Bernadette M. Duran-Brown
Bernadette M. Duran-Brown



J.D., University of Southern California School of Law, 2007

B.A., Seattle University, 2004, magna cum laude



Professional Affiliations

Women in Transportation, Orange County Chapter, Diversity Chair & Mentoring Committee

International Right of Way Association, Chapter 67

Orange County Bar Association

Awards & Honors

Named a Super Lawyers "Southern California Rising Star" in 2014-2017 by Los Angeles magazine

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