Federal Takings

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Federal Takings

Newton Trail Path Inverse Condemnation Case Develops (Case Nos. 14-397L,15-194L)

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Newton Trail Path Inverse Condemnation Case Develops (Case Nos. 14-397L,15-194L)

Case Information
Gloria J. Jackson, et al v. The United States of America
Mark Guenther, et al. v. United States of America
Case Nos. 14-397L, 15-194L

Case Update
In May 2014, we filed a claim on behalf of 60 individual Georgia landowners for inverse condemnation against the federal government. The lawsuit seeks to ensure these owners are paid compensation for the taking of their land underlying the 15-mile long abandoned railroad right-of-way easement between Newborn and Covington. The taking occurred in August 2013 when the federal government issued an order authorizing the right-of-way to be converted and sold for use as a public recreational hiking and biking trail.  
 
The case was argued in March 2015 before Judge Williams in the United States Court of Federal Claims in Washington D.C. We are awaiting Judge Williams’s decision.

By way of background on the history of this case, the Middle Georgia Atlantic Railway Company (MG&AR) originally acquired the right of way in the late 1800s. The Middle Georgia Atlantic Railway Company went through several changes of ownership until eventually the line was acquired by the Norfolk Southern Corporation in 1982. In 1989, Norfolk Southern leased the line to the short-line carrier, the Great Walton Railroad. In 2010, both Norfolk Southern and the Great Walton obtained authority from the federal Surface Transportation Board to discontinue service over the line.

On July 1, 2013, the Railroad filed its request to abandon the right of way with the federal Surface Transportation Board (STB). On July 26, 2013, the Newton Trail Path Foundation filed a request for trail use for the right of way. On August 19, 2013, the STB issued an order authorizing the Railroad to negotiate with Newton Trail Path for sale of the line for public trail use.  

The Railroad is currently in negotiations with Newton Trail Path to sell the right-of-way for use as a recreational trail.

Counsel for the landowners continues to meet with all interested Georgia landowners to discuss their claims for compensation in this case.  

For more information about this case, please contact:

Meghan Largent or Alexandrea Barney
 

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