Ethan Friedman is a 1994 graduate of the University of Judaism and a 2000 graduate of the University of San Francisco School of Law. Mr. Friedman recently joined Bowles & Verna as a Partner after spending the first 12 years of his career practicing real estate litigation at Miller Starr Regalia. Mr. Friedman has extensive experience in many areas of real property litigation, including title insurance law, boundary disputes, nuisance and trespass claims, water rights issues, environmental disputes, and construction law. He has developed particular expertise in eminent domain, where he regularly represents public agencies, private property owners, lenders and trustees in all aspects of condemnation law.
During his tenure at Miller Starr Regalia, Mr. Friedman coauthored “Chapter 30A: Eminent Domain” of the multi-volume real estate treatise entitled Miller & Starr, California Real Estate 3d Edition.
Mr. Friedman is a recognized expert in matters related to eminent domain and inverse condemnation, having regularly lectured on those topics to right of way professionals and counsel. His practice also includes land use and development, municipal representation, zoning and planning, and public project law. Mr. Friedman has broad based experience with land acquisition by governmental agencies and has represented both public agencies and private property owners throughout the acquisition process, through and including trial. He often works with a team of municipal staff and right-of-way professionals to efficiently and effectively carry out the agency’s constitutional obligation to pay just compensation. In addition, Mr. Friedman regularly coordinates with appraisers, engineers and other consultants in his representation of private property owners and agencies alike.
In 2000, Mr. Friedman received a J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law. During law school, he earned a CALI Award for outstanding academic achievement in insurance law, served as the Advanced Competition Director for the Moot Court Board, and advanced to the Western Region Quarterfinals of the National Moot Court Competition. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology, cum laude, from the University of Judaism (now the American Jewish University), Los Angeles.
TEACHING AND ASSOCIATIONS
Mr. Friedman frequently lectures on topics related to eminent domain. Most recently, he presented a seminar on Recovery of litigation expenses in a condemnation trial. He taught real estate professionals about the eminent domain process at the California Redevelopment Association’s Legal Issues Symposium (2007 and 2008) and the California 2008 Land Surveyor’s Legal Issue Seminar. He has also written articles on statewide referenda aimed to reform California’s eminent domain statutes, including recent Propositions 90, 98 and 99.
Mr. Friedman is a member of the American Bar Association, the Contra Costa County Bar Association, the Urban Land Institute, Chapter 2 of the International Right of Way Association, and the California Redevelopment Association.
Napa County Flood Control and Water Conservation District
Mr. Friedman has handled all land acquisition and eminent domain matters for the District which is in the midst of a long-term flood protection project in Downtown Napa. He advised the District on a variety of issues other than land acquisition, including successful resolution of environmental claims and clean up reimbursement against international oil companies. The Flood Project involves many complicated takes and presents numerous cutting-edge condemnation issues. Mr. Friedman has secured numerous favorable settlements for the District and has tried a matter before a Napa County jury.
Mr. Friedman has represented a North Bay City in all of its land acquisition activities for its Flood Protection Project. The purpose of the project was to provide flood protection to a vulnerable mobile home community from which property interests needed to be acquired. There were significant issues regarding severance damages and project benefits. Mr. Friedman negotiated purchase agreements and settlement agreements and tried a 4 week trial against 10 homeowners in order to acquire the property interests necessary for the project. The trial resulted in the City paying a fraction of the amount demanded by the homeowners.
School District Representation
Mr. Friedman assisted in the representation of the School District in the acquisition of a middle school parcel from a specific plan developer. This matter involved broader land use issues such as the significance of school fees, implied dedications and condition of development.
Mr. Friedman represented a marina owner whose property was condemned for purposes of a new bridge. This was a complex matter involving the construction of an elevated road through the remainder property, loss of access and wetlands issues. Mr. Friedman handled this matter through and including a successful mediated settlement.
Mr. Friedman has represented retailers, landlords and tenants in lease disputes, as well as in matters involving partial acquisition of leasehold interests. These matters often involve the relocation of signage, lost parking and loss of business goodwill.
Outdoor Advertising Representation
Mr. Friedman has assisted in the representation of a national outdoor advertising company, and has secured favorable settlements in disputes with landlords, trade infringement, code enforcement and condemnation matters.
Mr. Friedman has represented contractors and subcontractors in construction delay, contract and defect claims.
Mr. Friedman has represented both title insurers and their insureds in cases involving claims against title and bad faith actions.
Mr. Friedman was born in Boston, Massachusetts and grew up on the east coast before moving to Los Angeles in 1990 and later settling in Walnut Creek in 1994. He attended the University of Judaism where he received a Bachelor Degree in Psychology. While still living in Los Angeles, Mr. Friedman met his future wife Kim. Kim is a native of San Ramon Valley and together they are raising two boys in Walnut Creek. He enjoys sports, travelling and live music.