Michael C. Valdez, Director

Michael C. Valdez
Phone: (714) 415-1085
Fax: (714) 415-1185
Email: mvaldez@woodruff.law
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Practice Areas

Practice Description

Mr. Valdez advises public agency clients at all stages of securing right of way for public improvement projects. He has negotiated an extensive number of voluntary acquisitions in lieu of bringing formal eminent domain proceedings. In the initial stages of projects, Mr. Valdez coordinates and reviews statutory pre-condemnation offers of purchase, counsels agencies on tailoring the scope of rights described in resolutions of necessity to minimize agency costs, and initiates eminent domain actions as necessary. He ensures that prejudgment orders of possession are granted on the timeline needed to maintain project schedules.

Mr. Valdez has litigated claims on novel issues of eminent domain law including loss of visibility and its effects on corporate branding, outdoor advertising claims, complex business goodwill losses, competing claims of property ownership, and cases involving the modifications of existing structures. Additionally, Mr. Valdez has defended public agencies in numerous cases related to inverse condemnation claims arising from contractor overuse and allegations of construction-related damage.

Mr. Valdez has a professional degree in architecture and previously practiced as a land planning and architectural design associate on projects throughout California. He is currently on the Board of Directors of the local non-profit Save Our Youth (SOY).

Professional Activities

Mr. Valdez is a member of the Orange County Bar Association and a member of the International Right-of-Way Association.

Representative Matters

  • Represented the Orange County Transportation Authority on matters related to right of way acquisitions for the widening of the I-405 Freeway between I-605 and SR 73 in the cities of Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, and Huntington Beach. Litigated multiple direct condemnation cases from complaint to judgment. Negotiated and resolved a larger number of acquisitions through voluntary purchase agreements with owners of various residential, industrial, and commercial properties.
  • Defended the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) against the claims of 60+ plaintiffs brought on inverse condemnation and negligence theories.
  • Represented the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority on matters related to right of way acquisitions for the widening and improvement of the US 395 through cities of Victorville and Adelanto. Brought 11 direct condemnation cases to resolution from complaint to judgment. Negotiated the common use of properties with owners of high voltage power facilities including the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and Intermountain Power Agency.
  • Represented the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority on right of way acquisitions for the I-10 Widening Project between the Los Angeles County line and the I-15. Currently overseeing seven cases involving acquisitions from retail centers in Montclair and Ontario, each involving the resolution of multiple potential business goodwill loss claims.
  • Resolved eminent domain case for $206,000 where owner’s statutory best and final offer was $1.7 million, as a result of twelve successful motions in limine.
  • Resolved five cases involving the condemnation of high voltage electric transmission corridors over a railroad right of way. Negotiated and drafted easement language to ensure ongoing compatibility of complimentary public uses on the same property.

Relevant Publications & Presentations

    • “Public Participation and the CEQA Process” (2013)
    • “Things That Grow: Valuing Trees and Other User-Specific Benefits of Real Estate Improvements” (continuing legal education seminar, 2017)
    • “The Eminent Domain Practice” (2020)

    Knick and Federal Eminent Domain Jurisdiction” (continuing legal education seminar, 2022)


  • University of California, Irvine (J.D., 2013)
  • California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (B. Arch, magna cum laude, 2005)