Federal Takings

Arent Fox's Eminent Domain & Property Rights Practice

Federal Takings

Hundreds of Property Owners Involved in Arent Fox Cleveland County Rail-Trail Case, Reports Shelby Star


Hundreds of Property Owners Involved in Arent Fox Cleveland County Rail-Trail Case, Reports Shelby Star

On November 17 and 18, Arent Fox hosted town hall meetings in Shelby, North Carolina, providing details on the Cleveland County federal takings case that now involves over 100 local landowners. The Shelby Rails-to-Trails case, also known as Brooks v. United States, No. 15-843 (formerly Meacham v. United States), involves the planned conversion of the Norfolk Southern Railroad and the land underlying the railroad right-of-way on certain properties into a public hiking and biking trail by the City of Shelby.

As reported by the Shelby Star, “the suit is an inverse condemnation case, a situation in which it is believed the government has taken private property but fails to pay the compensation required by the just compensation clause in the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution.” The case involves an approximately 13 mile stretch of the former railroad that runs from Sunset Cemetery in Shelby to the South Carolina state line. Arent Fox’s case does not affect the local development of the rail-to-trail conversion; it solely seeks just compensation from the federal government for the local landowners.

“You still own the land, you will always own the land,” explained Arent Fox attorney Lindsay Brinton. However, when the federal government issued their notice, the landowners lost their ability to use the land they own. “When the notice of interim trail use and abandonment was issued, that was the date and time your land rights were taken,” Brinton said.

The Shelby Star also reported that this is Arent Fox’s fifth case in the Carolinas. The firm has recovered more than $10 million for landowners in Beaufort County, South Carolina and is in the process of finalizing settlement for more than 150 landowners in Pickens, Chesterfield, Darlington, and Greenville Counties, South Carolina.

To read the Shelby Star’s coverage of the legal background in this case, click here.

To read the Shelby Star’s coverage of the case details outlined at the town hall meetings, click here.


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Arent Fox LLP, founded in 1942, is internationally recognized in core practice areas where business and government intersect. With more than 350 lawyers, the firm provides strategic legal counsel and multidisciplinary solutions to clients that range from Fortune 500 corporations to trade associations. The firm has offices in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.