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Atlanta Beltline News 10-25-23

Landowners Secure Another Significant Recovery involving the Atlanta BeltLine Rail-Trail.

Rails to Trails News - Atlanta Beltline
Rails to Trails News - Atlanta Beltline

ATLANTA, GEORGIA, UNITED STATES, October 25, 2023 / -- Stewart, Wald & Smith, a leading law firm that focuses on property rights of landowners specific to rail-trail conversions, is pleased to announce another victory on behalf of landowners in Atlanta, Georgia. The firm has been representing landowners who own property adjacent to the Atlanta BeltLine since 2017.

The conversion of abandoned railroad corridors for the Atlanta BeltLine trail raises important legal questions for adjacent landowners regarding property rights and compensation. The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” Landowners along the Atlanta BeltLine route had their properties impacted by the construction and conversion efforts, in addition to long-term impacts of having a trail along their property instead of gaining possession of the corridor land.

The landowners’ property is along a 4.4-mile stretch of abandoned railway from the I-75/85 underpass to Glenwood Avenue, just north of Beulah Heights University. This portion of the abandoned railway was converted to create the Southside Trail segment of the Atlanta BeltLine. The case, Brittain v. United States, Case No. 18-342, in the United States Court of Federal Claims, was filed on March 6, 2018. After four years of litigation, the landowners reached a settlement with the federal government resulting in multiple partial payments to landowners. The remainder of their recovery was paid out in September 2023 by the federal government. This recovery amounted to an additional $245,000 for eight landowners, the same eight landowners who received $2.8 million in April 2022.

To date, Stewart, Wald & Smith has recovered monetary compensation from the federal government for 29 landowners along the Atlanta BeltLine conversion, with a total recovery of nearly $24 million.

This success for the landowners had no impact on the Atlanta BeltLine initiative. Rails-to-Trails cases are brought by landowners in the United States Court of Federal Claims against the United States government with no impact on trail initiatives.

For further information or media inquiries, please contact:

Stewart, Wald & Smith

About Stewart, Wald & Smith: Stewart, Wald & Smith is a leading law firm in rails-to-trail litigation. The team dedicates all of its resources to ensure the rights of landowners are protected in the complex taking of land in rail-trail conversions across the country. For more information, visit


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