Brad Kuhn specializes in real estate and business litigation, with an emphasis on eminent domain, inverse condemnation, and other valuation and land use matters. He provides strategic advice to property owners, businesses, and public agencies 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 matters. He assists clients with lease and purchase-and-sale agreement disputes, title, easement and boundary issues, unlawful detainer actions, and other land use, environmental and entitlement matters.
The American Lawyer & Martindale Hubbell have both recognized Mr. Kuhn as a "2013 Top Rated Lawyer in Land Use and Zoning." In 2012, OC Metro named Mr. Kuhn as one of the top 5 Land Use/Zoning Law attorneys in Orange County. He has also been repeatedly recognized by Los Angeles magazine as a "Southern California Rising Star," and he is Preeminent AV® 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, and 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 and on the Firm's California Eminent Domain Report blog.
Property Owner Focus
Mr. Kuhn represents a broad-range of property and business owners in Southern California, including (i) large corporations and developers, such as Centex Homes, Anheuser Busch, Sprint/Nextel Corporation, T-Mobile, Outback Steakhouse, and First Industrial Realty Trust, (ii) family businesses, such as franchisees of Subway, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Golden Spoon, and (iii) owners of vacant land, multi-family, commercial and industrial properties, such apartment complexes, lumber yards, and shopping centers.
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 Makar Properties against the City of Huntington Beach in connection with a dispute regarding the value of Makar's "Pacific City" property. The valuation impacted the park-in-lieu fee Makar was required to pay 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.
The Metropolitan Water District v. First Industrial Realty Trust Represented First Industrial in a condemnation action brought by the MWD to acquire a portion of an entitled parcel owned by First Industrial. Mr. Kuhn assisted in a negotiated settlement with the MWD paying roughly ten times the amount of its initial offer.
Caltrans v. Bayport Imperial Promenade Represented several restaurant businesses suffering goodwill losses 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 assisted in successfully excluding 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 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 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.
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. He has advised public agency clients on a variety of infrastructure improvements, such as roadways, railroads, schools, and flood control projects.
SANBAG Currently representing 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 ambitious schedule that others said could not be accomplished.
- 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).
San Bernardino County Transportation Commission Currently representing the Commission with acquisition of approximately 65 properties for the Downtown San Bernardino Passenger Rail Project.
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.
Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority Assisted Expo with acquiring portions of multiple parcels for Phase I the Mid-City Exposition Light Rail Transit Project. All matters were resolved through favorable settlements. Also currently assisting Expo with acquiring commercially developed properties in Santa Monica necessary for future terminal stations for Phase II of the Project.
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Currently assisting MTA with acquiring property necessary for the LAX/Crenshaw Line Project.
Los Angeles Unified School District v. Meruelo Maddux Properties Represented LAUSD in connection with the condemnation of a vacant, 24-acre industrial property for the construction of a new high school. In addition to the condemnation-related issues, 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 heated 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.