Alan A. Sozio
Partner - Los Angeles
A skilled litigator and trial lawyer, Mr. Sozio was named a Rising Star and Super Lawyer in the areas of Public Law and Eminent Domain by the Southern California edition of Super Lawyers, and has received the highest Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating.
As an expert on eminent domain issues, Mr. Sozio counsels public clients on early considerations and pre-acquisition activities necessary to the condemnation process. He litigates eminent domain and inverse condemnation actions on behalf of both public agencies and landowners, where he drafts pleadings and dispositive motions, conducts discovery, negotiates settlements and, when necessary, takes the matters through trial. Mr. Sozio also drafts transactional documents related to the acquisition of property through eminent domain, including purchase and sale agreements, right-of-entry agreements and leases.
In addition to eminent domain actions, Mr. Sozio litigates matters involving physical and regulatory takings, as well as land use and real estate issues. Mr. Sozio litigates contractual disputes, business torts, unfair business practices, and commercial matters for the firm's private clients. He has also arbitrated labor disputes for the firm's public and education clients.
On a pro bono basis, Mr. Sozio prosecuted cases for the Cities of Anaheim and Inglewood. In that regard, Mr. Sozio has successfully taken a number of criminal jury trials to "guilty" verdicts, and has obtained favorable bench rulings in criminal evidentiary trial proceedings. Mr. Sozio also acts as a volunteer arbitrator for the Los Angeles Superior Court Alternative Dispute Resolution program.
Mr. Sozio's recent experience includes:
- Representing a joint powers authority against landowners and tenants of a multi-unit commercial building seeking $6.8 million in compensation (including severance damages in excess of $4 million and $1.2 million in loss of business goodwill). Co-chaired a 3-week jury trial, after which the jury awarded less than 30% of the compensation sought by defendants, which amount was less than all of client's pre-trial settlement offers.
- Representing city against a privately held environmental remediation and development company involving a partial taking of property entitled for multi-use development. Co-chaired a five-week jury trial involving environmental remediation, land use entitlement, and valuation issues. The jury awarded less than 30% of the damages the developer sought at trial, which was several million dollars less than its final pretrial demand.
- Representing construction authority in eminent domain proceedings to condemn over twenty separate properties spanning seven grade separation projects in the San Gabriel Valley. Negotiated and settled a multitude of additional property owner takings claims related to these projects without resorting to litigation.
- As sole trial counsel, representing a joint powers authority in successfully defeating commercial landowner’s challenge to the right to take utility and temporary construction easements.
- Representing a city against a publicly-held tester of aeronautical and military component parts claiming $25 million in lost goodwill resulting from the construction of a public road. As trial counsel (co-chair), Mr. Sozio successfully obtained a verdict awarding no damages for loss of goodwill after nineteen days of trial. He drafted all briefs and successfully argued the matter on appeal, which was upheld in its entirety as reported at 137 Cal. App. 4th 264 (2006).
- Representing a city in an inverse condemnation and deprivation of civil rights action brought by a group of property owners seeking damages in excess of $7.8 million due to the city's alleged denials of development permits. Mr. Sozio successfully defeated initial attempts by the landowners to designate the matter as a complex class action suit, and thereafter obtained a judgment of dismissal by demonstrating the landowners failed to adequately and timely exhaust their administrative remedies.
- Representing a city against claims by a condemned tenant seeking goodwill damages duplicative of relocation assistance it had already received from the city. As sole trial counsel, Mr. Sozio successfully obtained a bench verdict precluding tenant from proceeding with its goodwill loss claims.
- Representing a city against a landowner in the condemnation of a multi-tenant commercial building. As sole trial counsel, Mr. Sozio obtained favorable rulings in a bench trial on legal and evidentiary issues, after which the landowner settled.
- Representing a joint powers authority against a developer of condemned vacant land seeking severance damages in excess of $1 million. Served as trial counsel (co-chair) in 9-day jury trial, after which the jury declined to award the developer any severance damages.
- Representing a city in an inverse condemnation action and writ petition brought by a developer seeking to declare a parking ordinance unconstitutional, both facially and as applied to the specific property. Mr. Sozio successfully demurred to multiple versions of the petition and complaint, which demurrer was ultimately sustained without leave to amend. He drafted all briefs and successfully argued the matter on appeal, which was upheld in its entirety.
- Representing a city in an inverse condemnation action brought by a homeowner's association claiming extensive flood damage allegedly caused by faulty maintenance of storm drain system. Following implementation of an aggressive discovery strategy, Mr. Sozio convinced homeowner's association to settle for less than ten percent of its claimed damages, then successfully obtained contribution from co-maintainer of storm drains towards overall settlement.
At McGeorge, Mr. Sozio was an associate editor of the Transnational Lawyer and received American Jurisprudence Awards in Property, Evidence, and Legal Writing.
Mr. Sozio is a former "AA" rated competitive beach volleyball player. When not at the office, he enjoys surfing, skiing, and relaxing with his family on the beach.
- Eminent Domain from Start to Finish, Ensure Proceedings and Land Valuations are Fair and Just, National Business Institute Seminar - Hilton Garden Inn, April 18, 2013
- Negotiating an Off-Site Acquisition Agreement and Litigating the Developer-Funded Eminent Domain Case, Tri-Counties Local Gov't Attorneys' Association Luncheon Meeting, January 17, 2013
- Off-Site Public Improvements as a Map Condition: Negotiating Thorny Issues Arising Under Off-Site Acquisition Agreements With Developers And Litigating The Developer-Funded Eminent Domain Case, 2012 APA California Conference - Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa, October 24, 2012
- Off-Site Public Improvements As A Map Condition: Negotiating An Off-Site Acquisition Agreement And Litigating The Developer-Funded Eminent Domain Case, April 2013
- Off-Site Public Improvements as a Map Condition: Negotiating an Off-Site Acquisition Agreement and Litigating the Developer-Funded Eminent Domain Case, Spring 2012
Public Law Journal
- Public Agency's Failure to Increase Final Offer from Amount of Its Appraisal Ruled Unreasonable as a Matter of Law, Thus Allowing Property Owner to Recover Its Litigation Expenses, November 2010
Public Law Update
- American Jurisprudence Awards, Property, Evidence, and Legal Writing - 2013
- American Jurisprudence Awards, Property, Evidence, and Legal Writing
- Martindale-Hubbell AV Rating - 2013
- Southern California Super Lawyer - 2013
- Southern California Rising Star - 2013
- Order of the Coif - 2013
- Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating
- Order of the Coif
- Southern California Rising Star
- Southern California Super Lawyer
- Graduated third in his class from McGeorge School of Law
- Traynor Society