Eminent domain attorney and Expo Line advocate Bradford B. Kuhn on
why the easiest way from Point A to Point B isn’t necessarily a straight line
INTERVIEW BY ERIK LUNDEGAARD
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DUSTIN SNIPES
Q: You’re the chair of Nossaman’s
eminent domain practice. Who do you
tend to represent in your cases?
A: A significant chunk is public agencies: LA
Metro, San Diego Association of Governments,
San Bernardino. I primarily do the right-of-way
acquisition component. If you’re building a
huge corridor for a new rail line, or a freeway
that’s widening, it’s a lot of work to actually
acquire the properties for the project.
Q: Are you ever involved in choosing
where to put these projects?
A: That’s usually early on in the
A lot of times, small shifts and alignment
environmental approval stage. Obviously
the footprint can change pretty
significantly, or it can be shifted, or the
rights you need can be significantly
adjusted as you go along. Engineers tend to
think linearly: “I’m just going to go straight
down this path, and that’s the easiest and
simplest way to do it.” But sometimes
that means it’s going to cost you a lot of
money—both from a property acquisition
standpoint and from a litigation standpoint.
changes can really minimize that exposure.
Q: So from a legal standpoint, the
easiest way from point A to point B isn’t
necessarily a straight line.