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Preseault v. United States

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
100 F.3d 1525 (1996)



Presault (plaintiff) had fee-simple ownership of a parcel of land in Burlington, Vermont. In 1899, the Rutland-Canadian Railroad Company acquired a right-of-way over a section of the parcel for railroad use. In 1970, railway transportation stopped over the right-of-way, and in 1975, the tracks and equipment were removed from the land. The Rails-to-Trails Act, 16 U.S.C. § 1247(d) (1994), granted the Interstate Commerce Commission (I.C.C.) the power to transfer abandoned land that had previously been used for railway purposes to a public or private entity willing to maintain the land as a public trail. In 1985, the state of Vermont and the city of Burlington agreed to create public trails out of the land previously used for the railroad. In 1986, the I.C.C. approved this arrangement. Preseault sued the United States (defendant), alleging that conversion of the land into a public trail constituted a taking under the Fifth Amendment. The trial court held that no taking had occurred. Preseault appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Plager, J.)

Concurrence (Rader, J.)

Dissent (Clevenger, J.)

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