Because Results Count

Douglas J. Evertz

Douglas J. Evertz

Fast Facts

  • Partner


Practice Areas

  • Real Estate Litigation
  • Land Use
  • Eminent Domain
  • Water Rights

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, real estate, water rights, and land use/CEQA. 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, Best Lawyers in America, and has a Martindale Hubbell rating of AV “Pre-Eminent”.

Eminent Domain Representative Matters and Clients - Public Agency Focus

County of Riverside: Mr. Evertz has assisted the County with acquisition of real property for multiple projects. Some examples:

  • Temescal Canyon Road Project. Representation of the County in a multi-parcel acquisition of properties to widen Temescal Canyon Road.
  • Lamb Canyon Landfill. Representation of the County in acquiring approximately 70 acres to be used for drainage control, additional access, vehicle storage and maintenance, and dirt management in connection with the Lamb Canyon Landfill operated by the Riverside County Department of Waste Resources.
  • Jurupa Road Grade Separation Project. Representation of the County in acquiring real property for the Jurupa Road Grade Separation Project.
  • Limonite Interchange Project. Representation of the County in acquiring real property necessary for the Limonite Interchange Project. 
  • Clay Street Grade Separation Project. Representation of the County in acquiring real property necessary for a grade separation for the existing at‑grade crossing of Clay Street and the Union Pacific Railroad in the County of Riverside. 

South San Joaquin Irrigation District: Current representation of the District in an eminent domain action to acquire Pacific Gas & Electric’s electric system to provide retail electric service to its 40,000 customers within its service area, which includes the cites of Manteca, Escalon, and Ripon. PG&E is challenging the District’s right to take on multiple grounds.

City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power: Representation of LADWP with acquisition of real property for multiple projects and defense of LADWP in eminent domain actions brought by other public agencies seeking to acquire LADWP’s property. Most recently:

o Inyo County Landfills. Representation of LADWP against the County of Inyo in three cases brought by the County to condemn three landfill sites, including water rights, owned by LADWP within the County. Murphy & Evertz successfully brought three motions for summary judgment where the court unconditionally dismissed the three eminent domain actions on right to take grounds. Matters regarding LADWP’s recovery of fees and costs are the only remaining issues.

Antelope Valley-East Kern Water Agency: Assisted AVEK with a multi-parcel acquisition project. Murphy & Evertz prosecuted over 20 eminent domain cases to acquire property for AVEK’s High Desert Water Bank Project. All but one settled short of trial. Murphy & Evertz represented AVEK at trial and the jury returned a verdict at AVEK’s appraised value.

Public Water District Condemnation: Mr. Evertz assisted several public water agencies in utilizing the eminent domain process to acquire private water companies. Some examples:

  • Castaic Lake Water Agency. Most notably, Mr. Evertz represented the Water Agency (a state water project contractor) in actions to acquire the Valencia Water Company (2012) and the Santa Clarita Water Company (1999) (both water retailers). Both matters were resolved by way of stipulated judgments in condemnation calling for the payment of $73.8 million in the case of the Valencia Water Company, and $63 million in the case of the Santa Clarita Water Company, pursuant to stock purchase agreements.
  • Tahoe City Public Utility District. Our firm represented the Utility District in actions to acquire the Mid-Sierra Water Utility and the Timberland Water Company. Both matters were resolved in 2017 through entry of stipulated judgments in condemnation.

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

Eminent Domain Representative Matters and Clients - Landowner Focus

Examples include:

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority v. Gillis Family Partnership – Representation of 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. Mr. Evertz earned an award of $53,503,000 for the building and improvements and over $3.8 million for loss of business goodwill.

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 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 $2.5 million. 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 $2.5 million, 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 $3.3 million.

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 $4.5 million.

Water Rights and Litigation

Mr. Evertz has extensive experience in water rights and related 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:

Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Adjudication –  Mr. Evertz currently represents the Indian Wells Valley Water District (“District”) as Special Counsel. On June 16, 2021, the District filed a cross-complaint for a comprehensive water rights adjudication on the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Basin No. 6-54 pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 830 et seq. The cross-complaint seeks a judgment to comprehensively determine and adjudicate all groundwater rights in the basin and to provide a physical solution for the perpetual and continuous management of the basin. Mr. Evertz also represents the District in several related actions challenging the validity of a Groundwater Sustainability Plan adopted by the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority adopted January 2020.  

Antelope Valley Groundwater Adjudication – Mr. Evertz represented the City of Lancaster and the Rosamond Community Services District in the Antelope Valley Groundwater Adjudication. The adjudication involved a series of consolidated cases which jointly sought to adjudicate all water rights within the Antelope Valley and involved all water right claimants, including the federal government, within the basin. Six phases of the trial were held: Phase 1, which determined the boundaries of the basin; Phase II, which addressed the issue of whether there was more than one groundwater basin; Phase III, which addressed the issues of safe yield and overdraft; Phase IV, which determined current pumping; Phase V, which included a determination of the Federal Reserve water right and addressed the issue of entitlement to return flows from imported water (this phase was suspended to afford the parties an opportunity to pursue global settlement discussions); and Phase VI, which was a trial to hear evidence on a proposed physical solution/settlement agreed upon by most of the parties and to consider objections of non-stipulating parties to the proposed physical solution. Judgment on the physical solution was entered December 23, 2015. Appeals were filed by several parties, including petitions for review filed with the California Supreme Court. All appeals were successfully resolved by 2021 with the judgment and physical now final

Mojave River Adjudication –  Mr. Evertz represented plaintiffs City of Barstow and Southern California Water Company who initiated the Mojave River Adjudication. The suit determined water priorities in the overdrafted groundwater basin. The Mojave River Basin area extends approximately 3,600 square miles and encompasses several cities, including Victorville, Hesperia, Apple Valley, Adelanto, and Barstow. His clients, the City of Barstow and the Southern California Water Company, filed the action against the City of Adelanto, the Mojave Water Agency, and other upstream water producers, claiming that upstream groundwater production was adversely impacting their water supply, and that the upstream producers contributed to the entire Mojave River Basin overdraft. Mr. Evertz’ clients sought an average flow of 30,000 acre-feet of water to the Barstow area and a writ of mandate to compel the Mojave Water Agency to import supplemental water from the State Water Project. 

Thereafter, the Mojave Water Agency served over 1,000 persons with an amended cross‑complaint that joined substantially all water producers within the Mojave River Basin. The cross-complaint asked the court to apportion water rights among the various water producers. The case, involving nearly 400 parties, is one of the most important water rights lawsuits in the past twenty years. Mr. Evertz was a member of the attorney/engineering drafting committee and played a significant role in preparing the stipulated judgment accepted by most of the water producers in the Mojave River Basin. He was also one of four lead trial attorneys.

Other Notable Public Agency Litigation                                                                                           

Independent Energy Producers Association v. County of Riverside. 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. 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.

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.

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. 


  • McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific, Sacramento, California
    • J.D., Doctor of Jurisprudence - 1986
    • Honors: With Distinction, Traynor Honor Society
  • University of San Diego, San Diego, California
    • B.A., Bachelor of Arts in Business Economics - 1982

Bar Admissions

  • California, 1986
  • U.S. District Court Central District of California, 1986
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of California, 1986
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of California


  • State Bar of California, Member
  • Federal Bar Association
  • Orange County Bar Association
  • International Right-of-Way Association Chapter 67


  • Recognized in Southern California Super Lawyers, and has a Martindale Hubbell rating of AV “Pre-Eminent”
  • Featured in Best Lawyers in America from 2018-2022 in the area of Real Estate Law
  • Featured in Southern California Super Lawyer from 2018-2022 in the areas of Eminent Domain and Land Use/Zoning

Classes & Seminars

  • Guest Speaker, eminent domain, environmental disputes, water rights, land use, general real estate and construction matters