Federal Takings

Arent Fox's Eminent Domain & Property Rights Practice

Federal Takings

Current Cases

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Kelley, et al. v U.S., No. 15-924 L

A group of landowners in Webster County, Kentucky, have filed inverse condemnation claims against the federal government for the taking of their land abutting the abandoned 8.5 mile-long Western Kentucky Railway corridor. The Railroad had an easement limited to railroad purposes. Under the terms of the relevant easement instruments and under Kentucky law, once the Railroad ceased operating a railroad across the right-of-way, the railroad easement was abandoned and Plaintiffs, as the fee owners, regained their right to the exclusive use and physical possession of their property.

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Robert Thomas: “Congress Cannot Limit Property Owners’ Rights to ‘Just Compensation’ by Narrowing the Court of Federal Claims Jurisdiction, Especially with an Absurd Statute”

As our friend and takings law expert Robert Thomas noted today here, Congress, by statute, cannot limit the Constitution’s guarantee that landowners receive “just compensation” when the government takes their property.

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Lawrence and Martin County Landowners File Fifth Amendment Takings Claims

More than 75 landowners have filed their Fifth Amendment takings claims against the federal government in this case. The government took the Lawrence and Martin County landowners’ property on March 25, 2010 when it issued an order allowing the Indiana Trails Fund to acquire their property for a public recreational trail. Under Indiana law, when the railroad abandoned its railroad operations, the land under its right-of-way should have reverted to the adjacent landowners. But the federal Trails Act prevented this from happening and, instead, allowed the trail group to acquire the land.

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McMinn County Landowners File Fifth Amendment Takings Claims

Almost 50 landowners have filed their Fifth Amendment takings claims against the federal government in this case. The government took the McMinn County landowners’ property on August 12, 2009 when it issued an order allowing McMinn County to acquire their property for a public recreational trail. Under Tennessee law, when CSXT abandoned its railroad operations, the land under its right-of-way should have reverted to the adjacent landowners. But the federal Trails Act prevented this from happening and, instead, allowed McMinn County to acquire the land.

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Arent Fox Files Appeal on Behalf of New York ‘High Line’ Landowner

Arent Fox has filed an appeal (appeal brief available here) on behalf of a New York City landowner whose property was taken by the federal government for the creation of the well-known “High Line” rail-trail park.

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Growing Interest in New York Rails-to-Trails Cases

We will be holding informational meetings for landowners whose claims the government has agreed to pay. In addition, we will also be holding an open house on Tuesday, April 21, 2015 from 9:00am to 5:00pm (with a presentation at 12:00pm) at the Hampton Inn Buffalo South, in West Seneca, New York.

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The Right to Just Compensation under the Fifth Amendment is a ‘Constitutional Imperative’

As takings guru Robert Thomas noted on his Inverse Condemnation blog, Arent Fox’s landmark complaint in Brott v. United States (W.D. Michigan, available here) raises the same constitutional questions raised in Ministerio Roca Solida v.

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Federal Government Wrongly Asserts US Court of Federal Claims Has No Jurisdiction over Michigan Landowners’ Compensation Claims in Brott v. U.S.

Arent Fox filed claims for compensation on behalf of Michigan landowners’ whose property was taken by the federal government for the construction of a recreational trail. The claims were filed in both the US Court of Federal Claims and the US District Court for the Western District of Michigan (US District Court complaint here).

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Growing Interest in Rock Island Rails-to-Trails

Our cases relating to the Rock Island Railroad corridor are getting a lot of attention. The Kansas City Star recently wrote an editorial, “Pick Up the Pace on Building Rock Island Trail across Missouri,” stating that “when done, [the Rock Island Trail] could stretch a couple hundred scenic miles across the state and finally help link the Kansas City area to the highly popular Katy Trail.”

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Government Agrees to its Liability for Taking a Group of New York Landowners’ Properties

The government has recently stipulated to its liability for taking a number of properties in this case. For these properties, the government agreed that under New York law, the original railroad only acquired a limited easement to run trains over the railroad right-of-way. When the railroad abandoned its right-of-way and stopped running trains, the easement was then extinguished. The landowners owning the land under the right-of-way should have regained their land free and clear of any easements.

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