Michael Leifer

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Michael H. Leifer

Partner

Biography

For three decades, Mr. Leifer's practice has focused on being at the forefront of representing property owners and business owners against public agencies in the eminent domain or inverse condemnation context.  In addition to the eminent domain/public project context practice area, Mr. Leifer and his law practice group handle a wide variety of disputes involving adverse impacts to real and business property.

Mr. Leifer and his practice group have consistently achieved outstanding results.  During the deepest part of the recession, while financial institutions and government agencies were shutting down, or in crisis, Mr. Leifer and his trial team received a $60,000,000 jury verdict against a city.  The matter later settled for over $70 million.

His first condemnation trial, tried with Patrick Hennessey, resulted in the first reported appellate court opinion concerning contaminated property in the Eminent Domain context.  Mr. Leifer's jury victories also include what is believed to be the highest pre-condemnation damage verdict in California.  Mr. Leifer also represented a business achieving the largest amount of loss of business goodwill in an eminent domain proceeding.  Despite the size of the award, the business was not displaced from its location.

In a recent inverse condemnation matter submitted to arbitration, Mr. Leifer obtained an award against Caltrans for more than $3.2 million. Caltrans' position was initially to deny liability and compensable damages.

Mr. Leifer has also successfully challenged the public agencies' right to take in eminent domain cases and has also successfully forced public agencies to change the scope of their takings.

Mr. Leifer has also successfully represented various property owners in challenging land use approvals or denials from various cities and public agencies.

Mr. Leifer also represented the landowner in a land lease adjustment arbitration against the owners of 150 condominium units. A significant arbitration award was issued against the unit owners.  Post-arbitration, the unit owners attempted to challenge the arbitration award.  Mr. Leifer successfully defeated the challenge to the arbitration award in the Superior Court and Appellate Court.

Mr. Leifer was instrumental in securing favorable reported appellate decisions on behalf of his clients including:  Kunec v. Brea Redevelopment Agency (1997) 55 Cal.App.4th 51; Abers v. Rohrs (2013) 217 Cal.App.4th 1199; and HPT IHG-2 Properties Trust v. City of Anaheim (2015) 243 Cal.App.4th 188.

  • Education
    • University of California, Los Angeles, B.A., with honors (1985)
    • Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, J.D. (1988)
  • Court Admissions
    • State of California
  • Professional Memberships and Activities
    • State Bar of California
    • Orange County Bar Association
    • Los Angeles County Bar Association
    • American Bar Association
    • International Right of Way Association (Chapter 67)
    • Instructor - Krav Maga, Orange County www.kravmagaoc.com
  • Practice Areas
    • Litigation
      • Business Litigation
      • Alternative Dispute Resolution & Mediation
      • Real Estate, Land Use and Construction Litigation
      • Environmental Litigation
    • Eminent Domain and Valuation Litigation
      • Condemnation and Inverse Condemnation
      • Valuation Litigation
      • Lease Renewal Valuations