Stewart, Wald & McCulley, the nation’s leading rails-to-trails law firm, today announced a $5.5 million settlement for 79 landowners affected by the Shelby Farms Greenline trail in Shelby County, Tennessee.
The lawsuit, Thomas, et al v. United States, concerned a seven-mile stretch of land that once was part of the Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Railway, later a CSX Transportation Inc. railroad line. After the railroad line was abandoned, the federal Surface Transportation Board approved converting it into a recreational trail subject to the National Trails System Act.
By doing so, the plaintiffs argued, the government “took” their property interests without just compensation, a violation of their Fifth Amendment rights. The lawsuit was filed on January 26, 2010 and was certified as a class action on October 29, 2010.
The court granted Stewart, Wald & McCulley’s motion for summary judgment on liability, agreeing that the federal government was responsible for compensating the landowners. The parties hired a joint appraiser and entered settlement negotiations.
The settlement, which was approved on June 2, 2015 by Judge Nancy Firestone in the U.S. Court of Claims, includes the fair market value of the property affected by the alleged taking, as well as interest and attorneys’ fees and expenses.
About Stewart, Wald & McCulley:
Stewart, Wald & McCulley LLC focuses on representing landowners whose property has been taken by eminent domain or inverse condemnation; the firm seeks just compensation for landowner clients when their private property is taken for public use. Stewart, Wald & McCulley has obtained more than $380 million for property owners in Rails-to-Trails cases, more than any other firm.