Locklin factors

The so-called Locklin factors are: (1) the overall purpose served by the project; (2) to what extent losses are offset by reciprocal benefits provided by the project; (3) the availability of alternatives to the plan adopted; (4) the severity of the plaintiff's damage in relation to risk-bearing capabilities; (5) the extent to which the damage is a normal risk of land ownership; (6) the degree to which damage is distributed at large over the project or is peculiar to the plaintiff. (Locklin v. City of Lafayette (1994) 7 Cal. 4th 327) When applying these factors, a trial court is reviewing executive and legislative choices about how to spend the People's money, and can impose liability therefor. This power must be wielded with respect for the coordinate branches of government. (See Cal. Const., art. III, 3.) In Akins v. State of California (1998) 61 Cal. App. 4th 1, Akins followed a bench trial finding takings liability for two classes of plaintiffs: some (Rio Linda) who asserted the State flooded their lands to protect other lands, and some (Strawberry Manor), who claimed the State failed "to have a flood watch plan to close a gap built into a levee, thereby causing a failure in a system designed to protect that territory." (Akins, supra, 61 Cal. App. 4th at p. 8.) The Court remanded the portion of the case in favor of Strawberry Manor because the trial court did not consider the later-announced Locklin factors in making its finding of unreasonableness, and remanded the rest of the case (Rio Linda) for consideration of the Locklin factors if the court found the property was historically subject to flooding; otherwise no showing of unreasonableness was needed to establish liability. (Id. at pp. 42-43.)