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Anna F. Nordhus Family Trust v. United States

United States Court of Federal Claims
98 Fed. Cl. 331 (2011)


Facts

The Anna F. Nordhus Family Trust and several other Kansas real property owners (collectively Plaintiffs) granted an easement to Union Pacific Railroad so that railroad tracks could be laid and trains could run along an 8.13-mile corridor of land. After a period of use, Union Pacific discontinued service along the corridor. Thereafter, the Federal Surface Transportation Board (STB) informed the Plaintiffs that it planned to use the abandoned railroad corridor for trail use, permitted by the National Trails System Act, 16 U.S.C. § 1241 et seq. (the Trails Act), a procedure known as “railbanking.” Plaintiffs filed suit against the United States (defendant) alleging that the Trails Act, which prevented the 8.13-mile corridor from reverting back to Plaintiff property owners once Union Pacific abandoned its use, constituted a taking in violation of the Fifth Amendment. Plaintiffs and the United States filed motions for summary judgment on liability. The court heard both parties’ motions.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Wheeler, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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