Douglas J. Evertz, Partner devertz@murphyevertz.com (714) 277 - 1702 (714) 277 - 1777 650 Town Center Drive Suite 550 Costa MesaCA 92648
Fast Facts
Partner
Real Estate Litigation
Land Use
Eminent Domain
Water Rights
Bar Admissions
California
USDC C Dist Cal
USDC E Dist Cal
USDC S Dist Cal
Education
JD, University of Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, with distinction, 1986
BA, University of San Diego, 1982

Doug Evertz is an accomplished trial lawyer representing clients in complex litigation and real estate matters at the trial and appellate court levels. He has specialized trial experience in disputes involving eminent domain, inverse condemnation, real estate, land use/CEQA, water rights and environmental matters.  Mr. Evertz has served as lead trial counsel in many high profile eminent domain and land use cases, both on behalf of public agencies and private interests.

Over his career, Mr. Evertz has represented a number of cities, counties, water districts and school districts in connection with major public agency acquisitions/public works projects. He has also represented a number of commercial and industrial property owners and business owners in eminent domain actions filed by Caltrans and other local governments.  Clients include small family-owned businesses, Fortune 500 companies and non-profit organizations, including churches.

Mr. Evertz is recognized in Southern California Super Lawyers, and has a Martindale Hubbell rating of AV “Pre-Eminent”.

Eminent Domain Representative Matters and Clients – Landowner Focus

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority v. Gillis Family Partnership – Represents the Gillis family against the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (“Authority”) in connection with the Authority’s taking of a building owned by the Gillis family in Century City.  Before being displaced, his clients also operated a cutting edge medical laboratory in the building.  The Authority initially offered $41,416,650 for the building and improvements.  In early 2018, Mr. Evertz earned an award of $53,503,000 for the building and improvements.  Claims for loss of business goodwill remains outstanding.

Southern California Edison Company v. J.W. Mitchell Land Company, LLC – Represented J.W. Mitchell Land Company in connection with SCE’s acquisition of property interests for its Falcon Ridge Substation Project in the City of Fontana.  SCE’s initial offer was $462,000.  Shortly before trial, SCE agreed to pay Mr. Evertz’ client $1,833,000.  SCE also agreed to modify the scope of its taking to lessen the impacts of the Project on the remaining property owned by J.W. Mitchell Land Company.

City of Ontario v. J.W. Mitchell Company, LLC, et al. – Represented the owner of a 43 acre site improved with a 762,296 square foot warehouse/distribution facility.  The facility serves as the regional distribution center.  The City of Ontario acquired portions of the property for its South Milliken Avenue Grade Separation Project.  The City’s initial offer for the taking was $1,325,000.  Pursuant to the owner’s request, the City modified the scope of the taking to mitigate on-site impacts.  The case settled shortly before trial for $4,500.000.

Riverside County Transportation Commission v. Pearl Street Properties, LLC, et al. – Represented the owner of Newport Farms, a successful family-owned and operated food service distributor in the City of Corona, adjacent to the 91 Freeway.  The partial taking impacted semi-truck access, circulation and parking.  RCTC’s initial offer was $1,360.000.  The case subsequently settled for $3,500,000.

B & H Education dba Marinello Schools of Beauty v. Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority – Marinello was a cosmetology school operating as a tenant in a building on Wilshire Boulevard in the City of Los Angeles.  Marinello was displaced by LACMTA and forced to relocate as a result of LACMTA’s Westside Subway Extension Project.  LACMTA failed to initiate a direct condemnation action, forcing Marinello to file an inverse condemnation proceeding.  In a bench trial, LACMTA was found liable for inverse condemnation and Marinello proved it was entitled to claim compensation for loss of business goodwill.  The case subsequently settled for $2,500,000.

Orange County Transportation Authority v. Ajax Lakeview Development – Represented the owner of one of the last undeveloped commercial-industrial zoned properties in the City of Placentia.  OCTA filed an eminent domain action to acquire a swath of land bisecting the property and severely impacting its suitability for development.  OCTA’s initial offer was $2,500,000.  The case subsequently settled for $6,117,000.

City of Victorville v. First Assembly of God of Victorville – Represented the Church in an eminent domain action brought by the City to acquire property for its Nisqualli Interchange Project.  The property taken included the primary driveway that provided access to the Church along with the front line of parking spaces.  The City’s appraiser valued the taking at $436,000.  The case settled with the City agreeing to pay $2,500,000, together with land use entitlements for new electronic reader boards, a counseling center, baseball field improvements and parking.

Alameda Corridor-East Construction Authority v. Rowland Ranch Properties LLC – Represented the owner of a 15 acre undeveloped parcel adjacent to a prospering commercial center with prominent freeway visibility to the 60 Freeway.  ACE acquired a permanent roadway easement together with a temporary construction easement that bisected the land – – effectively rendering the property unusable until completion of the project.  ACE’s initial offer was $936,000.  The case settled shortly before trial with ACE agreeing to pay $3,300,000.

Caltrans v. ARAMARK Uniform & Career Apparel, LLC – Represented ARAMARK in an action brought by Caltrans to acquire one of ARAMARK’s key market centers for the I-215 widening project. Caltrans’ initial offer was $1,881,000. The case was actively litigated and settled shortly before trial for $4,500,000.

City of La Puente Redevelopment Agency v. Gudzunas, et al. – Represented the owner of a 3-acre retail shopping mall developed in the 1950s. The condemning agency, the City of La Puente Redevelopment Agency, initially offered $3,550,000.  We negotiated a lost rent agreement which insulated our client from any income loss during the litigation. The case settled on the eve of jury trial for total compensation of $6,200,000 to our client.

City of Fontana v. Requip Corporation – Represented Requip Corporation in an action to acquire a portion of Requip’s property for a freeway overpass project in the City of Fontana. The City’s prelitigation offer was $916,000. The case settled shortly before trial for $1,671,000.

Caltrans v. Steiny & Co. – Represented Steiny & Co. in an action brought by Caltrans to acquire portions of Steiny’s property in Baldwin Park. Caltrans’ initial offer was $151,000. The case settled prior to trial for $600,000.

Public Agency Focus – Recent Matters

Riverside County – Limonite Avenue/I-15 Interchange Project – Current representation of the County of Riverside in a multi-parcel acquisition of properties to improve operational performance of the I-15/Limonite Interchange.

Riverside County – Temescal Canyon Road Project – Current representation of the County of Riverside in a multi-parcel acquisition of properties to widen Temescal Canyon Road.

Riverside County Clay Street Grade Separation Project – Represented the County of Riverside in connection with the acquisition of real property necessary for a grade separation to the existing at-grade crossing of Clay Street and the Union Pacific Railroad in the County of Riverside.  Filed and prosecuted multiple eminent domain actions, including full takes, partial takes, and acquisition of temporary and permanent easements.  Properties included multiple commercial properties and involved claims for compensation, severance damages and relocation claims.

Riverside County – Clinton Keith Road – Represented the County of Riverside in connection with the acquisition of real property through six eminent domain cases for the Clinton Keith Road Project.  The project involved widening and improving Clinton Keith Road and extending it to create a 3.4 mile long, six lane arterial highway.

Castaic Lake Water Agency – Represented Castaic Lake Water Agency (a state water project contractor) in actions to acquire the Valencia Water Company and the Santa Clarita Water Company (both water retailers).  Both matters were resolved by way of stipulated judgments in condemnation calling for the payment of $73,800,000 in the case of the Valencia Water Company, and $63,000,000 in the case of the Santa Clarita Water Company, pursuant to stock purchase agreements.

Tahoe City Public Utility District – Represented the Tahoe City Public Utility District in actions to acquire the Mid-Sierra Water Utility and the Timberland Water Company.  Both matters were resolved amicably in late 2017 by way of stipulated judgments in condemnation.

Los Angeles Unified School District – Represented LAUSD concerning “grandfathered” paint booths and restrictions on emissions of volatile organic compounds from a furniture manufacturing facility located adjacent to a new high school.  The matter involved claims of lost business goodwill, precondemnation damages and relocation.  Defendants asserted claims in excess of $80,000,000.  Successfully reached a favorable settlement for LAUSD.

Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority v. Castle and Cooke, et al.  – Represented SAWPA in connection with acquisition of property (pipeline easements) for its Santa Ana Regional Interceptor System – – a regional pipeline that carries up to 30,000,000 gallons per day of nonreclaimable waste water.  At issue was severance damages.  SAWPA contended no severance damages were owing.  The property owner claimed in excess of $2,000,000 in severance damages.  After a legal issues bench trial, the parties reached a favorable settlement whereby the parties agreed to amend the scope of the taking with no severance damages owing.

Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District v. Lansing – Represented the District in an action to acquire property for a retention basin in the Homeland/Romoland. Property owner requested total compensation of $8,600,000. The case settled the day before trial for $3,700,000.

Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District v. RCM Capital Partners –Represented the District in an action to acquire property in Old Town Temecula for the Murrieta Creek Flood Control and Environmental Restoration and Recreation Project.  Property owner claimed total compensation of $1,625,000.  After a successful legal issues trial, the District reached a favorable settlement involving payment of cash compensation of $325,000, plus transfer of property for nominal value.

County of Riverside v. Morita – Represented the County in connection with the acquisition of 20 acres of raw unincorporated land for a park.  The property was zoned low-density residential.  The County appraiser valued the property at $2,100,000.  The owner’s appraiser concluded that if zoned low-density residential, the property had a value of $4,200,000.  The owner’s appraiser, however, was also of the opinion that the property could be annexed to the City of Corona and re-zoned commercial, resulting in a value of $10,200,000.  A bench trial was conducted on the issue of whether there was sufficient evidence to present the jury regarding the probability of a zone change.  The court found that there was no reasonable probability of a zone change and excluded the entire owner’s evidence on the issue.  Prior to jury selection, the matter settled for $3,000,000.

Lancaster Redevelopment Agency v. Edelman – Represented the Agency in connection with the acquisition of a single room occupancy (SRO) facility.  The Agency, using comparable sales of SROs and motels in the area, valued the property at $725,000. The property owner valued the property at $1,500,000.  The jury returned a verdict of $732,000.

Mr. Evertz has also represented the City of Anaheim, the Capistrano Unified School District, the City of Claremont and Claremont Redevelopment Agency, the Desert Sands Unified School District, the Garden Grove Agency for Community Development, the City of La Mirada, the City of Lancaster and Lancaster Redevelopment Agency, the City of Loma Linda, the Long Beach Unified School District, the City of Monrovia, the City of Montclair Redevelopment Agency, the City of Newport Beach, the County of Riverside and Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, the Romoland School District and the City of Simi Valley, in eminent domain litigation.

Land Use Matters

Mr. Evertz routinely provides advice to his clients on a wide range of land use litigation and entitlement matters.  He has analyzed the reasonableness of proposed dedications, exactions and conditions of approval associated with the granting of entitlements under constitutional principles.  He also routinely provides advice to clients in connection with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) matters.  In this regard, Mr. Evertz frequently works with his clients at the administrative level with responsibilities including: (i) review and analysis of screen check CEQA documents prior to the release to the public; (ii) assisting clients with noticing and other procedural matters associated with the CEQA approval process; (iii) analyzing actions for potential CEQA exemptions, preparing resolutions for the approval of CEQA documents, providing responses to comments and potential challenges to CEQA documents, and (iv) assisting in the prosecution and defense of CEQA litigation.

Mr. Evertz has represented public entities and private developers in land use matters, both before the trial and appellate courts.  Recent matters include:

CREED-21 v. City of Moreno Valley (Aldi, Inc.); CUMV v. City of Moreno Valley – Representation and defense of the City of Moreno Valley and Aldi, Inc. in two CEQA actions challenging the City of Moreno Valley’s approval of Aldi’s 800,000 square foot refrigerated warehouse and distribution center.  Aldi, Inc. is a world-wide grocery chain and the project will serve as its southwestern regional headquarters and distribution center for 150 new grocery stores.  The project involves several approvals including an amended Plot Plan and Addendum to the previously approved Westridge Commerce Center EIR.  The trial court entered judgment in favor of Moreno Valley and Aldi.  The judgment was affirmed in favor of Mr. Evertz’ clients on appeal.

Ganahl Lumber Company v. City of Corona (Watermarke Properties) – Representation of Ganahl Lumber Company challenging the City of Corona’s approval of a large-scale commercial and residential project adjacent to Ganahl’s property.  Ganahl contends the City failed to, among other things, properly investigate and mitigate the project’s impacts on traffic and circulation.  Ganahl contends the project will negatively impact access and visibility to its lumber business.  The case settled with the City and Real Party In Interest agreeing to approve new directional signage and easements in favor of Ganahl.

Residents Against Specific Plan 380 v. County of Riverside – Representation and defense of the County of Riverside in a CEQA action brought to invalidate and set aside multiple project approvals associated with the Keller Crossing Specific Plan Project, which consists of a 200 acre residential and commercial development site in the French Valley area.  The trial court entered judgment in favor of the County and judgment was affirmed in a subsequent appeal.

County of Riverside v. County of Imperial – Representation of the County of Riverside in an action against the County of Imperial and Burrtec Waste Industries, Inc.  Riverside alleges that Imperial improperly certified an EIR associated with Imperial’s approval of the Salton City Landfill Expansion Project.  Riverside further alleges the project will negatively impact traffic and air quality in Riverside County and that those impacts were not properly mitigated.  The parties entered into a settlement agreement providing for adoption of new conditions of project approvals and mitigation measures – – all of which will mitigate impacts of the project in Riverside County.

Riverside County Regional Detention Center and Riverside County East County Detention Center – Representation of the County of Riverside in connection with the preparation of EIRs and related documents associated with the Regional Detention Center (2011) and East County Detention Center (2013).  The Regional Detention Center is a project located in the San Gorgonio Pass area and consists of a 7,200-bed jail facility and justice complex at build-out.  The East County Detention Center is a project that proposes a 1,626-bed replacement of the existing 353-bed detention center in the City of Indio.

John Boyd Designs, Inc. v. Los Angeles County Unified School District – Representation and defense of the Los Angeles Unified School District (“LAUSD”) against a CEQA action challenging its South Region High School District No. 12.  The matter was dismissed by petitioners following a demurrer filed by LAUSD.

Bay City Partners v. City of Seal Beach – Representation of developer Bay City Partners (“BCP”) in an action against the City, whereby BCP contended the City failed to comply with CEQA when it approved the Reverse End Staging Area and San Gabriel River Bikeway Enhancement Project (“RESA Project”).  A portion of the RESA Project crossed over BCP’s 10 acre oceanfront private property.  BCP argued the City violated CEQA because the City misrepresented to the public that the City had complete control over the entire RESA Project site.  The trial court entered judgment in favor of BCP, finding the City failed to provide an accurate project description.

City of Garden Grove – Represented the City of Garden Grove in a NEPA action filed by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Orange County Transportation Authority (“OCTA”) relating to the SR-22 Improvement Project.  The City contended the project would have significant adverse impacts on its major thoroughfares.  The case settled after OCTA agreed to widen several bridges and provide additional ramp improvements.

City of South Gate v. Los Angeles Unified School District – Representation of the City in an action challenging the adequacy of an EIR prepared in connection with a new school facility.  The City contended the EIR failed to adequately address the project’s impact on traffic and circulation.  The trial court agreed with the City’s position and set aside approval of the EIR and project.  The case settled after LAUSD agreed to implement further mitigation measures.

Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District, et al. v. State Water Resources Control Board, et al. – This was a consolidated action by the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District, the Main San Gabriel Basin Watermaster and the Environmental Defense Fund against the State Water Resources Control Board and real party-in-interest, Azusa Land Reclamation Company.  The lawsuit challenged the State Water Resources Control Board’s approval of a landfill expansion.  The landfill sits in a sand and gravel quarry overlying the Main San Gabriel Groundwater Basin, which supplies water to one million residents.  Mr. Evertz took the lead in briefing and arguing all CEQA related issues, contending that the State Board failed to prepare an EIR prior to project approval.  His arguments prevailed on appeal.

City of Barstow v. The Mojave Water Agency, City of Hesperia – The Mojave Water Agency executed a water supply contract to supply imported water to a large scale development near the City of Hesperia.  Mr. Evertz represented the City of Barstow, who contended the water supply contract was adopted in violation of CEQA.  (The City of Barstow contended that the Mojave Water Agency was selling imported water which, in part, belonged to the City of Barstow.)  In ruling for Barstow, the trial court set aside the contract, ruling that there must be compliance with CEQA prior to execution of the contract.

Cherry Valley Environmental Planning Group v. San Gorgonio Pass Water Agency – Mr. Evertz defended the San Gorgonio Pass Water Agency in an action filed by an environmental group. The lawsuit challenged the adequacy of an EIR prepared in connection with a $120,000,000 water importation project.  The plaintiff alleged that the EIR did not adequately address the project’s growth inducing impacts.  After a successful trial, a settlement was reached which allowed the Agency to proceed with the project.

Sweetwater Authority v. County of San Diego – Mr. Evertz represented the Sweetwater Authority (a water purveyor) in an action against the County of San Diego and real party-in-interest, Sloan Canyon Sand Companies.  The lawsuit challenged an EIR for a project which called for the expansion of a sand and gravel operation in the bed of the Sweetwater River, the main source of local water for Chula Vista and National City.  The trial court ruled in favor of the Sweetwater Authority and found the EIR inadequate.  This case ultimately settled after the sand and gravel operator agreed to construct facilities which lessened the project’s impact on water resources.

Water Rights and Litigation

Mr. Evertz has extensive experience in water rights and water use matters. At the administrative and planning level, he provides services involving the analysis of water rights, acquiring new water supplies and analyzing water supply availability for new developments, including the preparation of water supply assessments and water verifications. He also has extensive experience with water rights litigation. Representative matters include:

Antelope Valley Groundwater Adjudication – Representation of the City of Lancaster and the Rosamond Community Services District in a comprehensive groundwater adjudication in the Antelope Valley area. Litigation was initiated in 2000 by a large agricultural interest to protect water rights for farming operations.  In 2004, other lawsuits were filed and the actions have been coordinated and consolidated.  After several phases of trial, and pursuant to a stipulation signed by the majority of water providers, the trial court entered a final judgment and physical solution in December 2015.  The matter is currently on appeal.

City of Barstow v. City of Adelanto, et al. – Representation of the City of Barstow and Southern California Water Company in the Mojave River Adjudication.  Mr. Evertz was part of a team that participated in the attorney/engineer drafting committee, which prepared a stipulated judgment accepted by most of the parties.  He was also a member of the trial team supporting the proposed stipulated judgment.

Other Notable Public Agency Litigation

Independent Energy Producers Association v. County of Riverside – In November 2011, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors adopted a comprehensive, integrated legislative program collectively known as the “Solar Power Plant Program.”  Previously, solar power plants were not a permitted or conditionally permitted use anywhere in the unincorporated area of the County.  The new policy requires solar power plant owners to pay the County.  In 2012, two solar trade associations filed an action raising various constitutional challenges, including allegations that the program improperly imposes a tax without first obtaining voter approval.  After several successful pretrial motions, the case settled on terms beneficial to the County.

Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District v. Yorba Linda Redevelopment Agency – Mr. Evertz represented the School District in an action against the Agency concerning the interpretation of a redevelopment agency pass-through agreement.  The School District contended the Agency owed the School District over $7,000,000 and that over $200,000,000 would be owing to the School District.  The Agency contended it owed nothing.  After a lengthy trial, the trial court entered judgment awarding the School District all amounts requested.  The court further ruled that the Agency pay all future amounts owing the School District, which could be over $200,000,000.  The case settled on appeal under terms favorable to the School District.

Renewable Energy

Mr. Evertz has developed extensive experience representing clients in the dynamic arena of renewable energy. Representation in this field includes the County of Riverside who has adopted a comprehensive legislative package permitting large scale solar projects. Mr. Evertz serves as general counsel to the High Desert Power Authority, a joint-powers agency created for the purpose of creating independent transmission projects.

Real Estate and Construction

Mr. Evertz represents public and private companies, partnerships and businesses in all aspects of real estate litigation, including title, development, leasing and sale of all types of properties. He has mediated and tried numerous construction related matters including construction contract disputes, delay claims, mechanics’ lien and stop notice matters.  Clients include Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. and Foothill Transit Constructors.

Memberships

Federal Bar Association
State Bar of California
Orange County Bar Association