Jenni Pancake is Senior Counsel and a member of Colantuono, Highsmith & Whatley’s litigation practice group. She heads the firm’s eminent domain and inverse condemnation practice.
Jenni has focused on eminent domain and inverse condemnation since 1988, litigating, trying cases and working on appeals. Her experience includes a wide variety of condemnation issues, representing governmental agencies, property owners, tenants and business owners on all aspects of the eminent domain process. Her inverse condemnation experience has focused on the defense of public entities in both regulatory and physical takings cases.
Jenni was recognized in 2020 with a CLAY (California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year) for her work on City of Oroville v. Superior Court where the California Supreme Court changed the standard of causation in inverse condemnation to include an analysis of whether the alleged damage was the result of an inherent risk of the public entity’s project.
Her published decisions in the field of direct and inverse condemnation include — Weiss v. People ex rel. Dep’t of Transportation (2020) 9 Cal. 5th 840, City of Oroville v. Superior Court (Cal. Joint Powers Risk Management Authority)(2019) 7 Cal.5th 1091, Community Redevelopment Agency v. Force Electronics (1997) 55 Cal.App.4th 622, and Los Angeles Unified School Dist. v. Trump Wilshire Assoc. (1996) 42 Cal.App.4th 1682.
Jenni has also litigated a wide variety of other municipal issues including redevelopment dissolution, land use, civil rights, Brown Act, dangerous condition, real property, torts, police excessive force, contracts, writs and administrative hearings and appeals.
Jenni has been rated AV by Martindale-Hubbell since 2000 and is admitted to the State Bar of California, the U.S. District Court for the Central and Eastern Districts and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal. She is has appeared in state trial and appellate courts throughout California.
Jenni is a graduate of the University of Redlands (B.A. Political Science, 1984) and Loyola Law School (J.D., 1988). At Loyola, she was a staff member and then Managing Editor of the Loyola Law Review. She was on the Dean’s List and a member of the St. Thomas More Law and Honor Society, received an AmJur Award for Civil Procedure, and was a judicial extern to the Honorable W. Matthew Byrne, Jr. in the U.S. District Court, Central District.
Her interest in eminent domain law began in her first-year real property class, and thereafter she was a faculty research assistant to noted property rights advocate, Professor Gideon Kanner. Since then, Jenni has enjoyed and pursued a professional interest in the fields of eminent domain and inverse condemnation law, and liability defense of public agencies generally.
Jenni served for over 20 years to the former Los Angeles County Bar Association Committee on Condemnation and Land Valuation Litigation. She served as the Southern California Chairman of the California State Bar Subsection on Inverse Condemnation and Eminent Domain. She has also served on the Board of Women Lawyers of Los Angeles and was an active member of the Women Lawyers Public Action Grant Foundation, serving as its President. She has served the former Los Angeles Municipal Court as a Small Claims Temporary Judge Volunteer and sat on the Independent Cities Risk Management Association Liability and Claims Committee. She was an alumni volunteer for American Legion Auxiliary California Girl’s State and has served on the University of Redlands Alumni Board of Directors and the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles, Property Strategic Planning Task Force.
As a very young lawyer in the early nineties, Jenni was a cooperating attorney and co‑counsel with the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, in a federal civil rights/fair housing class action entitled Oliver v. City of Indio.
Jenni is currently a member of Women Lawyers of Los Angeles and the City Attorney’s Association of Los Angeles County.
- Eminent Domain
- Inverse Condemnation
- Land Use Litigation
- Real Property Litigation
- Municipal Litigation
- Public Liability Defense