The Constitution of the United States contains the 5th Amendment which guarantees all Americans several rights. Among these is protection against the government taking property from you without compensation.
Our firm handles 5th Amendment cases related to property claims involving the conversion of privately owned railroad rights-of-way to public walking trails for landowners located in various states across the country. This has been referred to as “Rails to Trails” litigation. We also handle other inverse condemnation and eminent domain matters.
Reach out to Zephier & LaFleur to schedule a free consultation with a Rapid City property owners’ rights attorney by contacting us via email or by phone at (605) 349-1993 today.
These types of cases normally involve a railroad that desires to abandon miles of railroad track and right-of-way in a state, but certain organizations request the United States to stop landowners from acquiring state-based legal rights to their underlying property in the former railroad right-of-way - thus, the need for federal court intervention.
Our practice originates cases in the United States Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C., where the United States government is the only defendant. Every state has different laws concerning landowners’ rights in the process.
While a Rails to Trail project was made available to everyone, it is not an example of landowners who need to fight for property rights to former right-of-way railroad lines that are now defunct. If you are involved in such a matter, we urge you to speak to our attorney about it.
Other property rights matters can involve:
- Inverse condemnation: where the value of your property is damaged when the government takes it for public use without first paying for it or offering less than reasonable compensation; landowners can file an inverse condemnation lawsuit seeking acceptable compensation
- Eminent domain: in which private property is taken by the government so that it can be converted for public use; this requires fair and just compensation to landowners
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