Code Section Group

Public Utilities Code - PUC

DIVISION 1. REGULATION OF PUBLIC UTILITIES [201 - 3260]

  ( Division 1 enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 764. )

PART 1. PUBLIC UTILITIES ACT [201 - 2120]

  ( Part 1 enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 764. )

CHAPTER 8. Determination of Just Compensation for Acquisition of Utility Properties [1401 - 1421]
  ( Chapter 8 enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 764. )

1401.
  

As used in this chapter, “lands, property, and rights” includes a part or portion thereof.

(Enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 764.)

1402.
  

As used in this chapter, “political subdivision” means a county, city and county, city, municipal water district, county water district, irrigation district, public utility district, or any other public corporation.

(Enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 764.)

1403.
  

Any political subdivision may, at any time, file with the commission either a petition of the first class, setting forth the intention of the political subdivision to acquire under eminent domain proceedings, or otherwise, the lands, property, and rights of any character whatsoever of any public utility or a petition of the second class, setting forth the intention of the political subdivision to initiate such proceedings as may be required under the law governing the political subdivision for the purpose of submitting to the voters of the political subdivision a proposition to acquire under eminent domain proceedings, or otherwise, the lands, property, and rights of any character whatsoever of any public utility.

(Amended by Stats. 1974, Ch. 489.)

1404.
  

Each such petition shall contain the name of the political subdivision appearing as petitioner therein, a description of the lands, property, and rights which the political subdivision intends to acquire, and the names and addresses of all owners and claimants thereof, including each trustee and mortgagee under each deed of trust and mortgage, if known, or a statement that they are unknown. The petition shall pray that the commission fix the just compensation which shall be paid by the political subdivision, under the law, for such lands, property and rights. The petition shall be signed in the name of the political subdivision and verified by the chairman or other presiding officer or by the secretary or clerk of the legislative or other governing body of the political subdivision. At the time the petition is filed, the petitioner shall also file with the commission additional copies thereof equivalent in number to three more than the number of owners and claimants named in the petition.

(Enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 764.)

1405.
  

Upon the filing of the petition the commission shall make its order to show cause. The order shall specify the nature of the proceeding, contain a general description of the lands, property, and rights which petitioner desires to acquire by condemnation or otherwise, and direct the owners and claimants named in the petition, who shall also be named in the order, to appear before the commission at a time and place specified in the order, to show cause, if any they have, why the commission should not proceed to hear the petition and to fix the just compensation to be paid for the lands, property, and rights.

The order shall direct the executive director of the commission to serve or cause to be served upon each owner and claimant a copy of the order certified under the seal of the commission to which shall be attached a copy of the petition.

(Amended by Stats. 1978, Ch. 380.)

1405.1.
  

With respect to water corporations and water companies, the following procedures shall apply:

(a) Upon the filing of the petition, the commission shall make its order to show cause. The order shall specify the nature of the proceeding, contain a general description of the lands, property, and rights which petitioner desires to acquire by condemnation or otherwise, and direct the owners and claimants named in the petition, who shall also be named in the order, to appear before the commission at a time and place specified in the order and to show cause, if any they have, why the commission should not proceed to hear the petition and to fix the just compensation to be paid for the lands, property, and rights.

The order shall direct the executive director of the commission to serve or cause to be served upon each owner and claimant a copy of the order certified under the seal of the commission to which shall be attached a copy of the petition.

(b) In response to the order to show cause, in response to a petition of the first class, as specified in Section 1403, the respondent public utility, or the owners of more than one-half interest in the public utility, may present the commission with a certified copy of a filed motion to the superior court where the utility property is located to take jurisdiction of the matter. When presented the motion before, or at the time of, the hearing on the order to show cause, the commission shall dismiss the proceeding. The superior court shall then grant the motion to take jurisdiction of the matter. The political subdivision may then file, within 60 days of the court’s granting the motion, an action in eminent domain pursuant to the Code of Civil Procedure and any further proceedings shall be conducted pursuant to those provisions.

(c) All proceedings held pursuant to either subdivision (b) or (d) shall be given priority over all civil cases in accordance with Section 1260.010 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

(d) In response to an order to show cause in response to a petition of the second class, as specified in Section 1403, and upon presentation of the motion specified in subdivision (b), the commission shall suspend the proceeding, but shall not dismiss the proceeding. The superior court shall then grant the motion to take limited jurisdiction of the matter solely for the purpose of determining the amount of just compensation. The political subdivision may then file, within 30 days, an action in the nature of eminent domain, solely for the purpose of determining, pursuant to the Evidence Code and the Code of Civil Procedure, the just compensation to be paid for the land, property, and rights. Upon a determination of just compensation, the court shall certify the finding to the commission. The finding shall not be appealable, and the court shall be acting as an agent of the commission in making the finding. The finding shall be binding on the commission as if it had been made by the commission itself pursuant to Section 1411. The commission shall then continue the matter pursuant to this chapter.

(e) If the respondent public utility, or the owners of more than one-half interest in the public utility, in the case of a petition of either the first or second class, files a motion to remove the matter from the commission to superior court pursuant to this section, the commission and the court shall not make an award of any litigation expenses incurred prior to the commission’s dismissal or suspension of the matter.

(f) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the date of valuation for purposes of just compensation shall be fixed by the superior court as of the day on which the court grants the motion filed by the public utility pursuant to subdivision (b) or (d).

(g) A political subdivision is liable only as provided in Sections 1414 and 1415 for payment of the reasonable expenditures of the owner in any proceeding initiated pursuant to subdivision (d). For purposes of this subdivision, the proceeding before the commission, as used in Section 1415, includes any proceedings conducted pursuant to subdivision (d).

(h) The amendments made to this section by Assembly Bill 616 during the 1987 portion of the 1987–88 Regular Session of the Legislature shall not apply to or affect any petition filed pursuant to this section before January 1, 1988.

(Amended by Stats. 1989, Ch. 1360, Sec. 132.)

1406.
  

Service of the order to show cause shall be made in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure or by depositing a copy of the order to show cause certified under the seal of the commission with a copy of the petition attached thereto, in the United States mail, enclosed in a sealed envelope, registered, with postage prepaid, addressed to each of the owners or claimants, at the address specified in the petition.

(Enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 764.)

1407.
  

If any owner or claimant named in the petition resides out of the State or has departed from the State or cannot after due diligence be found within the State, or conceals himself to avoid service, or is a corporation having no managing or business agent, cashier or secretary or other officer upon whom summons may be served, who, after due diligence, can be found within the State, and the fact appears by affidavit to the satisfaction of the commission, and it also appears by such affidavit or by the petition that a cause of action exists against the owner or claimant on whom the service is to be made or that he is a necessary or proper party to the proceeding, the commission shall make an order that the service be made on such owner or claimant by publication of the commission’s order to show cause. The order shall direct that the publication be made in a newspaper designated by the commission as likely to give notice to the person to be served, and for such time as the commission finds to be reasonable, at least once a week, but publication against an owner or claimant residing out of the State or absent therefrom shall not be less than two months. If the address of any owner or claimant, as stated in the petition, is out of the State, the secretary of the commission shall, within 15 days after the making and filing of the order to show cause, deposit or cause to be deposited a copy of that order, certified under the seal of the commission, with a copy of the petition attached thereto, in the United States mail, enclosed in a sealed envelope, registered, with postage prepaid, addressed to such owner or claimant at the address specified in the petition. When publication is ordered, personal service of a copy of the order to show cause and of the petition out of the State is equivalent to publication and deposit in the United States mail.

(Enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 764.)

1408.
  

Within 10 days prior to the time set for the first hearing on the petition, which time shall be not less than 30 days after the filing of the petition, the executive director of the commission shall serve or cause to be served upon the petitioner a written notice specifying the time and place of the hearing. In all respects not in this chapter otherwise specified, service and the proof of service shall be made as provided by the Code of Civil Procedure. Upon the completion of service upon the petitioner or upon any owner or claimant named in the petition, the commission shall have full and complete jurisdiction over such petitioner, owner, or claimant, with full and complete jurisdiction, insofar as such petitioner, owner, or claimant is concerned, to make each finding referred to in this chapter. The failure to make service upon any person alleging that he is an owner or claimant but not named in the petition shall in no way affect the jurisdiction of the commission over owners and claimants on whom service has been made.

(Amended by Stats. 1979, Ch. 373.)

1409.
  

At the time and place specified in the order to show cause, or at such other time and place as, for good cause, is otherwise ordered by the commission, the commission shall proceed to a hearing on the petition. At such times and in such amounts as is directed by the commission, the political subdivision shall pay to the commission all extra costs as determined by the commission, which the commission incurs to comply with the requirements of this chapter, and if such amounts are not paid by the political subdivision as directed by the commission, the commission may suspend further proceedings on the petition. Evidence may be presented by the political subdivision, by each owner or claimant named in the petition, and by the commission.

(Enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 764.)

1410.
  

The commission may, at any time subsequent to the filing of the petition, and prior to making and filing its finding as to just compensation, authorize the amendment of the petition by altering or modifying the description of the lands, property, and rights, or by adding to or deducting from the lands, property, and rights, and in each other respect including jurisdictional allegations.

(Enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 764.)

1411.
  

When the proceeding has been submitted, the commission shall make and file its written finding fixing, in a single sum, the just compensation to be paid by the political subdivision for the lands, property, and rights. If the commission finds that severance damages should be paid, the just compensation for such damages shall be found and stated separately. The just compensation shall be fixed by the commission as of the day on which the petition was filed with the commission.

(Enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 764.)

1412.
  

Within 20 days after the commission has made and filed its finding, the owner of the lands, property, and rights may file with the legislative or other governing body of the political subdivision a written stipulation consenting and agreeing to accept the just compensation fixed by the commission. Upon the filing of the stipulation, the political subdivision shall proceed with all due diligence to provide the necessary funds under the law governing the providing of such funds, for paying the just compensation fixed by the commission. Whenever the just compensation has been tendered by the political subdivision, a deed of grant, bargain, and sale conveying the owner’s right, title, and interest in and to the lands, property, and rights to the political subdivision shall be executed and delivered by the owner, and the other claimants who have any right, title, or interest in the property shall execute appropriate instruments conveying or releasing to the political subdivision their respective rights, titles, and interests therein. If the deed or the instruments of convenience or release are not executed and delivered within 60 days after such tender has been made, the political subdivision may commence an action in a court of competent jurisdiction or proceed under Section 1413.

(Enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 764.)

1413.
  

In the case of a petition of the first class, if the owner does not file the stipulation within such 20 days, the political subdivision, within 60 days after the commission has made and filed its finding, shall commence an action in a court of competent jurisdiction to take such lands, property, and rights, under eminent domain proceedings. In the case of a petition of the second class, if the owner does not file the stipulation within such 20 days, the political subdivision, within 60 days after the commission has made and filed its finding, shall initiate proceedings for the purpose of submitting to its voters a proposition to acquire under eminent domain proceedings the lands, property, and rights. The political subdivision shall not be required, in either case, to delay for more than 20 days after the commission has made and filed its finding, before commencing such further proceedings. In the case of a petition of the second class, if the voters of the political subdivision, as provided by the law governing the political subdivision, vote in favor of any proposition to acquire under eminent domain proceedings, or otherwise, such lands, property, and rights, the political subdivision shall, within 60 days thereafter, commence an action in a court of competent jurisdiction to take such lands, property, and rights, under eminent domain proceedings, unless the owner has filed with the political subdivision a written stipulation consenting and agreeing to accept the just compensation fixed by the commission.

(Enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 764.)

1414.
  

If the political subdivision, in a petition of the first class, fails to file such action in a court of competent jurisdiction within such period of 60 days after the commission has made and filed its finding, or if the political subdivision, in a petition of the second class, fails to proceed diligently to submit the proposition to its voters or fails, if its voters have voted in favor of the acquisition of the lands, property, and rights, to file such action in a court of competent jurisdiction within 60 days thereafter, the owner of such lands, property, and rights may file with the commission a verified petition in writing setting forth that fact. The petition may also set forth in detail the expenditures which the owner has necessarily incurred in the proceeding before the commission.

The commission shall thereupon cause written notice, with a copy of the owners’ petition attached thereto, to be served upon the political subdivision, to appear before the commission at a time and place specified in the notice, to show cause why an order should not be made by the commission (a) finding that the political subdivision has failed to pursue diligently its rights, (b) determining that the finding as to just compensation shall no longer be of any force or effect, and (c) determining the reasonable expenditures necessarily incurred by the owner which, in the opinion of the commission, should be assessed against the political subdivision. The time specified in the notice shall be not less than 10 days subsequent to the date of service.

(Enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 764.)

1415.
  

If the commission determines that the political subdivision, in case of a petition of the first class, has failed to commence the action in a court of competent jurisdiction within 60 days after the commission has made and filed its finding of just compensation, or that the political subdivision, in case of a petition of the second class, has failed to proceed diligently to submit the proposition to its voters or has failed, after its voters have voted in favor of the acquisition of the lands, property or rights, to file such action in a court of competent jurisdiction within 60 days thereafter, the commission shall make and file its order declaring that such finding shall no longer be of any force or effect, and make its finding as to the reasonable expenditures necessarily incurred by the owner in the proceeding before the commission, which should be assessed against the political subdivision. The political subdivision shall thereupon be liable to the owner in the amount thus found by the commission, and the owner may thereupon maintain an action against the political subdivision for such amount in any court of competent jurisdiction.

(Enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 764.)

1416.
  

The finding of the commission fixing the just compensation to be paid by the political subdivision for the lands, property, and rights shall be final and shall not be subject to modification, alteration, reversal, or review by any court of this State. If the court in which the political subdivision has commenced its action, subsequent to the making and filing by the commission of its finding as to just compensation, decides that the political subdivision has the right and power under the law to take the lands, property, and rights, it shall enter a judgment in favor of the complainant in the action, fixing as the just compensation which shall be paid for the taking of the lands, property, and rights, the just compensation fixed by the commission. The judgment may include the allowance of such costs between the parties as is provided for in the law of eminent domain of this State. The judgment of the court insofar as it refers to the just compensation to be paid for the lands, property, and rights, shall be final and shall not be subject to modification, alteration, reversal, or review by any court except as specified in this chapter. The judgment of the court shall include a provision, in substance, that it is subject to modification by reason of such increase or decrease in the just compensation to be paid as may thereafter be certified to the court by the commission, as provided in this chapter.

(Enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 764.)

1417.
  

At any time within 30 days subsequent to the entry of such judgment, the owner of the lands, property, and rights may file with the commission a verified petition in writing, alleging that by reason of expenditures made by the owner subsequent to the date of the filing of the original petition with the commission, for the purpose of preserving or improving the lands, property, and rights, or by reason of other acts and occurrences subsequent to that date, the just compensation theretofore fixed by the commission should be increased, and praying that the commission make its finding increasing such compensation. At any time within 30 days subsequent to the entry of the judgment, the political subdivision may file with the commission a verified petition in writing, alleging that by reason of loss or destruction of the lands, property, and rights, or by reason of depreciation or deterioration thereof or by reason of other acts and occurrences, subsequent to the date of the filing of the original petition, the just compensation theretofore fixed by the commission should be decreased, and praying that the commission make its finding decreasing the compensation. The commission shall in each instance cause a copy of such petition or petitions to be served upon each party other than the petitioner, who was named as the political subdivision, owner, or claimant in the original proceeding before the commission, together with a written notice specifying the time and place of hearing on such petition or petitions, which time shall be within 45 days after the entry of the judgment by the court, and shall cause written notice of the time and place of the hearing to be served upon each petitioner in such petition or petitions. If both such petitions are filed, the commission may consolidate them for hearing and decision.

(Enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 764.)

1418.
  

After a hearing, the commission shall make and file its finding fixing, as of the date on which the finding is made and filed, the extent to which the just compensation theretofore fixed should be increased or decreased by reason of the matters alleged in the petition or petitions. If the claim is made that the just compensation theretofore fixed by the commission should be increased by reason of expenditures made by the owner subsequent to the date of the filing of the original petition with the commission for the purpose of preserving or improving the lands, property, and rights the commission may increase the just compensation only to the extent to which the commission determines that such expenditures were beneficial to the lands, property, and rights, and reasonably and prudently made. The finding of the commission fixing the extent to which the just compensation theretofore fixed should be thus increased or decreased shall be final and shall not be subject to modification, alteration, reversal, or review by any court of this State.

(Enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 764.)

1419.
  

The commission shall thereupon transmit to the court its finding, certified under the seal of the commission, fixing the extent to which the just compensation theretofore fixed by the commission shall be increased or decreased. The court shall thereupon modify its judgment so as to conform with the finding of the commission. The judgment of the court, as thus modified, insofar as it refers to the just compensation to be paid for the lands, property, and rights, shall be final and shall not be subject to modification, alteration, reversal, or review by any court. The filing of either or both the petitions specified in Section 1417 shall not act as a stay of the judgment in condemnation, but upon the payment of the just compensation fixed in the original judgment of condemnation the plaintiff in the action shall be entitled to immediate possession of the lands, property, and rights.

(Enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 764.)

1420.
  

(a) The provisions of this part with reference to rehearing and review shall be applicable to the findings of the commission made and filed under this chapter. Petitions for rehearing shall be filed within 20 days from the date of making and filing the finding as to which a rehearing is desired.

(b) If the finding of the commission is set aside by the Supreme Court or the court of appeal of the State of California, the matter shall be referred back to the commission for further action in the proceeding before the commission, and the commission may, in taking further action, consider the entire testimony theretofore taken in the proceeding before the commission as well as further testimony presented in connection with the further action.

(c) If a writ of review is issued by the Supreme Court or court of appeal of the State of California, the time within which the political subdivision shall file an action in a court of competent jurisdiction or submit the proposition to its voters shall be extended to not more than 60 days beyond the final decision of the court upon that writ.

(Amended by Stats. 1996, Ch. 855, Sec. 4. Effective January 1, 1997.)

1421.
  

The procedure provided in this chapter shall be alternative and cumulative and not exclusive, and the political subdivision shall continue to have the right to pursue any other procedure providing for the acquisition under eminent domain proceedings of the lands, property, and rights of any public utility. This chapter shall not be construed as repealing any law of this State providing for such eminent domain proceedings.

(Enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 764.)

PUCPublic Utilities Code - PUC