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Los Angeles Real Estate Attorney | California

John Peterson Lawyer

John S Peterson
(Upgrade Listing)

Eminent Domain, Land Use & Zoning, Real Estate Other, Landslide and Subsidence

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John S. Peterson is a trial lawyer who focuses on eminent domain, inverse condemnation and other complex real estate and business cases with an emphasis on jury and non-jury trials. He has substantial experience in the representation of real estate valuation, business valuation, landslide, subsidence, California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), environmental, land use, subdivision, lease, construction defect and developer agreement disputes.

He is the founder of Peterson Law Group Professional Corporation, a law firm that was established with the goal of providing quality service, personalized attention, creative approaches and a results oriented philosophy in handling client matters.

Mr. Peterson was born in Glendale and raised in Los Angeles, California. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics, magna cum laude, from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1978, as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. As an undergraduate, he interned for the Senate Transportation Committee. He received his Juris Doctorate from the UCLA School of Law in 1981. He was admitted to practice in California in 1981. He is also admitted to practice in the United States Court of Federal Claims, the United States District Court for the Central, Southern, Eastern and Northern Districts of California and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Mr. Peterson has served as trial counsel in several successful jury trials. As examples, he won a $10.5 million jury verdict in an eminent domain matter where the original offer was $5.4 million and a $4.0 million verdict where the original offer was $840,000.

In 2010, Mr. Peterson was elected as a Member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), where eligibility to membership requires completion of a prescribed number of jury trials and nomination and election by the membership which includes some of the best lawyers in America. He is Martindale-Hubbell® AV Rated, the highest rating available to an attorney.

With more than 29 years of practice experience and a solid record of success in trials, Mr. Peterson has achieved hundreds of strong results for his clients. He recently won a $28 million result on behalf of an owner client in an eminent domain case where the original offer was less than half that amount.

In a recent inverse condemnation matter on behalf of an owner client, he achieved a $4.6 million result paid by the city for repair of a landslide where liability was disputed.

Mr. Peterson has been a featured speaker on eminent domain in several broadcast media segments, including Marketplace on National Public Radio, Patt Morrison’s KPCC radio show, and a KNBC news segment on inverse condemnation. He has been quoted in the Los Angeles Times and in the Los Angeles Business Journal in articles involving his cases.

Mr. Peterson is a participating member of the Condemnation and Land Valuation Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association and is a member of the Real Property Section of the State Bar of California and the Los Angeles County Bar Association. He is a member of the American Bar Association.

In condemnation actions, he emphasizes representation of real property and business owners. Cases have included auto mall property, shopping centers, swap meets, industrial properties, commercial properties, hotels, motels, apartments, retail centers, development properties, farm land, homes, subdivisions, tracts, landfill property and others.

He has represented a wide variety of businesses in litigation and relocation, including: restaurants, fast food, recording studios, pharmacies, manufacturers, retailers, equipment vendors, food processors, tire retreading, furniture manufacturing, molded and injected plastics manufacturers, boat yards, marine equipment supply, liquor stores, convenience stores, gas stations, car rental agencies, mechanics, auto body shops, auto dismantlers, recyclers, metal dealers, roofers, contractors, chemical plants, mortuary, truck wash, car wash, container storage and repair, printers, metal stamping, textiles, clothing manufacturing, attorneys, doctors, dentists, optometrists, metal workers, wood workers, glass workers, oil companies, developers, and many other businesses.

Position Organization Location Duration
President Peterson Law Group N/A 2001-Present
School Degree Major Graduation
University of California, Los Angeles School of Law J.D. Law School 1981
University of California, Los Angeles BA Economics 1978
State / Court Date
United States Court of Federal Claims 1994
United States District Court Eastern District of California 1994
United States District Court Northern District of California 1994
United States District Court Southern District of California 1994
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit 1982
California 1981
United States District Court Central District of California 1981
  • Member, Condemnation and Land Use Committee, Los Angeles County Bar Association
        Member, American Bar Association
        Member, Los Angeles County Bar Association
        Member, International Right of Way Association
  • Elected a Member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), 2010
        Martindale-Hubbell® AV Rating
        Selected to be included in Southern California Super Lawyers 2011
  • Offered: $13.4 million
    Awarded: $28 million         Los Angeles - Los Angeles By-Products Co. adv Los Angeles County Flood Control District - Representation of the owner of an operating inert landfill. The condemning agency initially offered less than $13.4 million. The case involved business goodwill, relocation, highest and best use issues related to geology and geotechnical engineering, civil engineering and site adaptability, land use isses and property valuation.
              
    Awarded: $13.5 million         Pico Rivera - Alex Meruelo, Trustee adv. City of Pico Rivera - Representation of the owner of a 90 unit apartment complex.  The case involved resolution of a valuation dispute.
              
    Offered: $4.6 million
    Awarded: $7.1 million         Los Angeles - PDW Lighting, Inc. adv Los Angeles Unified School District - Representation of the owner of a former street car maintenance facility that was being operated as a multi-use income property. The school district’s original deposit was $4.6 million. The case involved environmental issues, as well as disputes over highest and best use and valuation.
              
    Offered: $1.8 million
    Awarded: $2.25 million         Livermore Valley - Livermore Valley Unified School District vs. Wilson Family Funeral Chapel, et al. - Represented property owner of a mortuary property. At trial, the condemning agency contended the property was worth $1.8 million. The case included disputes over highest and best use and valuation issues.
              
    Awarded: $6.0 million
    (post-trial, post-appeal)         Chino Hills - Richland Pinehurst et al vs. City of Chino Hills et al. - Represented developers against city and community facilities districts in the trial and appeal of an inverse condemnation, breach of contract case arising out of a Facilities Improvement Agreement that provided for reimbursement for developers’ unreimbursed costs of backbone infrastructure. The city denied liability through trial and appeal and did not offer to pay any money until after the court of appeal ruled in developers’ favor.
              
    Offered: $4.1 million
    Awarded: $7.7 million         Los Angeles - R.F. Wilton (Frank Fargo Tire & Rubber Co., Inc.) adv. Los Angeles Unified School District - Represented property owner and tire retreading business. Initial offer was approximately $4.1 million. Settlment included $4.8 million compensation for real estate and more than $2.9 million for lost business goodwill and relocation.
              
    Offered: $7.7 million
    Awarded: $11.0 million         Gardena - Rikuo Corporation adv. City of Gardena - Represented owner of commercial retail mall/swap meet in inverse condemnation/eminent domain/environmental remediation case. Prior to filing the original inverse condemnation action by Rikuo for precondemnation damages due to unreasonable delay, the city’s offer was approximately $7.7 million.
              
    Offered: $960,000
    Awarded: $1.425 million         Burbank - Housing Authority of the City of Burbank vs. Linda D. Reinoso et al. - Represented owner of multi-family property. City’s original offer was $960,000. Jury determined value to be $1.425 million.
              
    Awarded: $4.7 million         Palos Verdes - Torino vs. City of Palos Verdes Estates et al. - In this inverse condemnation trial involving a landslide affecting a bluff top home, the City denied liability. After a multi-week trial involving geology, geotechnical engineering and property valuation issues, the Court found liability and awarded $4.7 million in compensation and litigation expenses. Other parties, including Southern California Edison and General Telephone and Electric (Verizon), had settled prior to trial.
              
    Offered: $1.76 million
    Awarded: $4.39 million         Los Angeles - Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles vs. Z. Patrick Berberian and California Arts Products - Represented property and business owner/manufacturer of fiberglass and resin products, props and facades. The condemning agency initially offered $1.76 million. At trial, the jury determined real estate value to be $3.4 million. Highest and best use of the real estate was a critical disputed issue. Business goodwill, fixtures and equipment and relocation were resolved before trial for $992,740.
              
    Offered: $1.9 million
    Awarded: $4.7 million         Los Angeles - City of Los Angeles vs. Southwestern Properties, LLC, Metropolis Manufacturing, Inc. dba Vaughn Benz, et al. - Represented property owner and furniture manufacturing business. Business was successfully relocated. City’s initial offer was $1.9 million.
              
    Offered: $1.675 million
    Awarded: $2.875 million         Los Angeles - Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles (CRA) vs. Stewart-Coss Partnership - Represented property owner and furniture manufacturing business. Business was successfully relocated. City’s initial offer was $1.9 million.
              
    Offered: $2.36 million
    Awarded: $3.95 million         Wilmington - Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority (ACTA) vs. Fuel Engineering Corporation - Represented property owner in a partial takings case. The condemning agency initially offered $2.36 million.
              
    Offered: $347,500
    Awarded: $1.54 million         Wilmington - Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority (ACTA) vs. Moises Z. Rugerio - Represented property owner and auto dismantling/parts salvage business. The condemning agency’s initial offer was $347,500. The case settled for more than $1.54 million.
              
    Offered: $1.3 million
    Awarded: $3.7 million         Long Beach - City of Long Beach, acting by and through its Board of Harbor Commissioners vs. Seymour Waterman and Betty Joyce Waterman, Waterman Supply Company et al. - Initial offer was $1.3 million. Represented property owner and business owner in successful jury trial of business goodwill loss and settlement of real property value and relocation benefits. Jury awarded $795,600 despite successful relocation of business and despite Long Beach contending there was no loss of goodwill. Subsequently, the Court awarded litigation expenses. Before trial, relocation and real estate compensation were settled for $2.9 million. Original offer was $1.3 million.
              
    Offered: $840,000
    Awarded: $4.0 million
    (augmented by post-appeal fee award)         Los Angeles - Berkett, et al. adv. Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles - Represented owners of 20,000 sq. ft. (approx.) parcel, improved as a parking lot, located diagonally across from Staples Center, then under construction. The condemning agency initially offered $840,000 for the property. At the trial, which involved project influence and highest and best use issues, the jury awarded $4,011,280. The agency appealed the decision. The judgment was affirmed and the court of appeal awarded litigation expenses. See Los Angeles Business Journal Article.
              
    Offered: $5.4 million
    Awarded: $10.5 million         Carson - Watson Land Company adv. Carson Redevelopment Agency - Represented owner of the property leased to Cormier Chevrolet in Carson. The condemning agency initially offered $5.4 million to acquire the underlying fee interest in the property. At trial, the jury determined fair market value to be $10.5 million.
  • Eminent Domain Used to Acquire YMCA (quoted)         Mountain Views News         2010
    Pasadena Steps Up Effort To Acquire Historic YWCA Building (quoted)         Los Angeles Times         2010
    Where're the Lawmakers?         The Los Angeles Times (quoted)         2008
    Couple Blamed City for Landslide that Damaged Home         Verdictsearch publication         2007
    Business Owner and City Agency Disputed Property’s FMV         Verdictsearch publication         2005
    Delay in Property Purchase Proves Costly to City (quoted)         Los Angeles Business Journal         2002
    Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority v. Hensler         California Environmental Resources Evaluation System         1991
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