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Joseph A. Schwar

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Biography

Mr. Schwar has been engaged in managing eminent domain and inverse condemnation litigation and appellate work on behalf of owners of real property and businesses taken or damaged by public projects for over sixteen years. He obtained a published opinion from the California Supreme Court to overturn prior law that public agencies had used to thwart property owners' inverse condemnation claims against public entities. He has sought and obtained repair costs and other damages for numerous clients whose properties were damaged by landslide or subsidence and liability and damages were disputed. Mr. Schwar manages environmental and contamination matters including disputes over cleanup agreements and responsible party designations, arguments over remediation costs, methods, and reimbursements, and impacts upon property development, highest and best use, and valuation.

Mr. Schwar has successfully resolved landlord-tenant disputes over lease interpretation, common area maintenance charges, and oil and gas leases. He has also favorably employed the Uniform Commercial Code to resolve contractual claims over deficient and defective goods received from an overseas supplier. Mr. Schwar has pursued insurance coverage and bad faith claims to recover monetary damages in excess of the amount initially claimed and has aided a client in navigating an insurer's examination under oath being used to probe for signs of insurance fraud or other excuse to deny the client's insurance claim.

Education

  • University of California at Los Angeles School of Law, Los Angeles, California
    • Juris Doctor - 05/2002
  • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
    • Bachelor of Science - 1999
    • Honors: Dean’s List and Class Honors

Bar Admission

  • California
  • Florida
  • District of Columbia

Published Works

  • Weiss v. People ex rel. Dep’t of Transp. (2020) 9 Cal. 5th 840 - Mr. Schwar was instrumental in persuading the California Supreme Court to overturn prior case law and to hold that public agencies cannot use Code of Civil Procedure section 1260.040, part of the Eminent Domain Law, to obtain a summary determination that they are not liable for taking or damaging private property in the inverse condemnation context.
  • Weiss v. The People of the State of California (2018) 20 Cal. App. 5th 1156 - Mr. Schwar’s briefing to the Fourth District Court of Appeal convinced that Court to split from prior authority out of the Second District that had previously allowed public agencies to escape liability for inverse condemnation by motion and without trial.
  • City of Gardena v. Rikuo Corporation (2011) 192 Cal.App.4th 595 - Mr. Schwar participated in this unsuccessful appeal of a trial court’s order releasing funds to the city to pay remediation costs following the parties’ stipulated judgement.

Current Employment Position

  • Senior Attorney