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Banks v. United States

ELR Citation: 48 ELR 20078
Nos. 16-1633L, (Fed. Cl., 05/17/2018) (Bruggink)

A Federal Claims court held that the Surface Transportation Board (STB) temporarily took landowners' property without just compensation for use as an interim trail under the National Trails System Act. The landowners' predecessors-in-interest sold right-of-way easements to a railroad for operation of a railway in the 1870s. The landowners allege that in 2012, the government took a new easement across their underlying fee interest in those same lands when the STB invoked National Trails System Act §8(d) and issued a notice of interim trail use (NITU), postponing their immediate right to full use of the surface. The court agreed. The landowners have been deprived of the full use of their own property for over six years, and the NITU plainly caused this impact. The nature of the taking was foreseeable, severe, not mitigated depending on the quality of the land, and could not be anticipated. The court ruled that this finding is undisputed and is sufficient to find a compensable temporary taking.