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Land Use, Real Property and Environmental Law

California Land Lawyers

Open Field

About: Matteoni, O'Laughlin & Hechtman

Our People and Our Focus

Matteoni, O’Laughlin & Hechtman is widely respected as one of the leading eminent domain (condemnation), land use, real property and environmental law firms in California. Our specialized knowledge and extensive experience in these complex areas of law have allowed us to consistently provide favorable results for our clients.

Founded in 1979 by Norman Matteoni — author of “Condemnation Practice in California”
Matteoni, O’Laughlin & Hechtman represents property owners, businesses and public agencies throughout California.

Named the top small (2-10 attorneys) real estate law firm in California by Super Lawyers 2013-2015.

We are also honored to receive recognition from the 2010-2022 U.S. News & World Report as:
“Best Law Firms – Metropolitan First Tier Litigation Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law”

“Best Law Firms – Metropolitan First Tier Land Use and Zoning Law”
Our office is in a historic 1881 building located in central San Jose.

Property law is complex


Eminent Domain

We primarily represent the property and business owners, with a diverse mix including publicly held corporations such as Hertz and IBM, small businesses, farm/ranch owners, residential, commercial and industrial real estate owners and developers. We have handled several challenges to the government’s right to take private property. But the typical case addresses compensation for taking of real property and damages to land that remains, as well as loss of goodwill to businesses taken. We do select work for public agencies as well, including Sobrato Dev and Swenson Builders such as South San Joaquin Irrigation District.


Land Use

We advise and process applications for clients on general plan amendments, rezoning, site approval permits, Williamson Act contracts and subdivisions, appearing before local governments throughout the Bay Area for various land use approvals, including residential, corporate campus, quarry, landfills and recycling, golf courses, shopping centers to cellular facilities. We also provide litigation services to defend or challenge the government action.

Environmental Law

We provide advice, advocacy and litigation services to developers, and landowners  on compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act.

Real Estate

Our practice includes the negotiation, review and drafting of commercial leases, purchase and sale transaction documents, and easement agreements, as well as litigation services for a variety of real property matters.

Meet The Team


Norman E. Matteoni


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Peggy M.



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Barton G. Hechtman


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Bradley M. Matteoni


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Gerry Houlihan


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Open Field


Where We Focus

Appellate decisions

Appellate Decisions

Open Field


California Supreme Court


California Department of Water Resources v. PRI, Inc., et al. (2016) 1 Cal.5th 151:

The right of entry statute was reformed by California Supreme Court to permit extensive soil testing and borings and environmental surveys on private property only if a jury trial to assess damages is an available remedy; the appropriate process is a condemnation action for such tests and borings.


Los Angeles County M.T.A. v. Alameda Produce Market, LLC (2011) 52 Cal.4th 1100:

Government’s consent to withdrawal of deposit of probable compensation does not preclude the owner from making objection to the right to take.


Metropolitan Water Dist. of Southern California v. Campus Crusade for Christ, Inc. (2007) 41 Cal.4th 954:

The probability of rezoning and existence of severance damages are questions for the jury, not the court.


​California Appellate Courts


City and County of San Francisco v. PCF Acquisitionco, LLC (2015) 237 Cal.App. 4th 90:

A public entity’s settlement offer that was contingent on obtaining approvals from other government entities was unreasonable because it provided no assurance that owner’s acceptance would result in settlement of the action.  The owner was entitled to seek litigation expenses including attorney fees based on the unreasonableness of the conditional offer.


City of Stockton v. Marina Towers LLC (2009) 171 Cal.App.4th 93:

A city cannot proceed with condemnation of private property based on a resolution that does not properly describe the public project for which the land is to be taken.


San Jose Parking, Inc. v. Superior Court (2003) 110 Cal.App.4th 1321:

A redevelopment agency could not condemn a parking management agreement (personal property) to remove the parking operation for new development.


City of Carlsbad v. Rudvalis (2003) 109 Cal.App.4th 667:

Alleged damages caused by urbanization of the area around subject property and severed by the condemnor’s road project are not recoverable, where the condemnatory act did not physically affect the remaining land on which flower growing nurseries were located.  [Our firm represented the public agency.]


Saratoga Fire Protection Dist. v. Hackett (2002) 97 Cal.App.4th 895:

In a rapidly rising market, the demands of equity override a statute holding the date of value to the date of filing, where there is no deposit of probable compensation and even though the case is timely brought to trial within one year.  In these circumstances, the date of value is the date of trial.  [Our firm represented the public agency.]


City of Hollister v. McCullough (1994) 26 Cal.App.4th 289:

Where the condemnation laid out a new half street for general circulation and there was no benefit to the property owner’s remaining land, the consequence of future dedication of the other half of the street constituted severance damage.


County of San Diego v. Rancho Vista Del Mar (1993) 16 Cal.App.4th 1046: 

Land condemned for a county jail site cannot be valued on the basis of its use as a private detention facility, because a jail is a uniquely governmental institution for which only the government provides the market.  [Our firm represented the public agency.]


Browning-Ferris Indus. v. City of San Jose (Waste Management Inc.) (1986) 181 Cal.App.3d 852:

The City’s responses to comments by eight public agencies and one environmental group with regard to possible asbestos hazard and earthquake activity related to a proposed sanitary landfill was sufficient; and evidence supported the City Council’s approval of environmental impact report for rezoning the site.


848 The Alameda | San Jose, CA 95126 | 408-293-4300

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