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New York Landowner Brings Suit in Federal Court over Rail-Trail Conversion

Press Release - News from Bronx, New York

Stewart Wald & Smith, LLC (“SWS”), the nation’s leading and only fully dedicated Rails-to-Trails litigation law firm, has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a landowner in Bronx County, New York against the federal government. The suit was filed in the United States Court of Federal Claims as a result of the rail-trail conversion. The federal lawsuit is captioned: 233rd Street Partnership, L.P. v. United States, Case No. 23-1358L.

233rd Street Partnership. L.P. owns land adjacent to a .77-mile stretch of abandoned railway in Bronx, New York. The New York Central Railroad began construction of the railway in the 1870’s. CSX Transportation, Inc., the latest owner of the railway, sold the corridor to the City of New York this year. On May 26, 2023, the United States Surface Transportation Board gave its approval to convert the abandoned rail line to a recreational trail. The above-referenced suit was filed on August 18, 2023.

Although the trail will not be completed for some time, landowners are entitled to just compensation now, since it is the federal government’s authorization of trail use that gives rise to landowners’ takings claims. The Riverdale Press reports that the extension project is “a little more than 16 months away from breaking ground.” The Riverdale Press further reports that one of the major hurdles was for the United States Surface Transportation Board to approve interim trail use, which has now been approved. The news article can be found here.

This is not the first case that attorneys from Stewart, Wald & Smith have brought on behalf of New York landowners. In Furlong v. United States, Case No. 09-367L, Stewart, Wald & Smith attorneys recovered $14,200,000 on behalf of landowners along a 9.4-mile trail in Albany County, New York. Currently, SWS represents over 200 landowners in another rails-to-trails case involving land in Dutchess and Putnam counties, NY. All of these matters only seek compensation from the federal government. The railroad and the entities sponsoring the trail are not involved.

If you have received correspondence from Stewart, Wald & Smith, yet have not engaged with a law firm, consider contacting them for an evaluation of your case.


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