Just Compensation: Fifth Circuit Reviews

Updated: Jan 15, 2020

WASHINGTON, DC (Nov. 6, 2019): Southeastern Legal Foundation joined National Association of Reversionary Property Owners, Professor James W. Ely, and the Cato Institute, in filing an amicus brief supporting a group of landowners in Georgia whose property is being unlawfully taken and turned into public trails.

The case of Hardy v. United States finds its origins in 1889, the year the Eatonton & Machen Railroad Company began. Shortly thereafter, the railroad surveyed a right-of-way across privately-owned land and many of the owners signed the pre-printed deeds. Fast forward over 110 years later. The railroad petitioned to abandon the 15-mile railway line at issue because it had not been used since 2010. The local trail foundation then asked the government to turn the 15 miles into trails and give the foundation a right-of-way across the privately-owned land for the public recreational purpose. The landowners filed the current suit simply asking for compensation for their taken property and the Court of Federal Claims agreed, awarding them just compensation. Not wanting to pay the landowners for use of their land, the trail foundation appealed.

Click here for amicus brief

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