Lewis Rice Wins More Than $220,000 in Compensation for Southern Indiana Landowners

Lindsay S. C. Brinton and Meghan S. Largent, attorneys from Lewis Rice’s Federal Takings & Rails to Trails Practice Group, recently won more than $220,000 in compensation for eight landowners in southern Indiana. These landowners brought takings claims against the federal government for the taking of their property for the Monon South Trail, a recreational hiking and biking trail that crossed or trespassed on the landowners’ property.

The City of New Albany, Indiana, and the Indiana Trails Fund started the process of turning the 62.3-mile railroad segment that runs between New Albany and Bedford, Indiana, through Floyd, Clark, Washington, Lawrence and Orange counties into a hiking and biking path in 2018. Landowners’ property underlying the railroad easement was seized pursuant to the National Trails System Act, which authorizes abandoned railroad lines to be converted to public parks. Over the years, many of these landowners have presented their claims in a series of cases, including this one, Kay v. United States. The remaining cases—Cessna v. United States, Popp v. United States and Lawrence County v. United States—have all been settled. Those landowners are expected to receive compensation from the federal government later this year.

“We are pleased to have been able to obtain the just compensation that the federal government owes to these eight landowners,” Lindsay said. “We look forward to seeing the plaintiffs we are representing in three other cases related to the Monon South Trail receive what they are entitled to soon.”

Lewis Rice's federal takings attorneys represent landowners throughout the United States pursuing takings claims against the federal government. One primary focus of the group is representing landowners in what is commonly referred to as rails to trails takings. Attorneys in this group litigate cases in the United States Court of Federal Claims on behalf of those whose property was taken by the federal government pursuant to the National Trails System Act, which authorizes abandoned railroad lines to be converted to public parks. The goal is to obtain compensation from the government for the taking of their land for the public recreational trail. The attorneys in the Federal Takings Practice Group focus on both proving the taking has occurred as well as establishing the value of the property that was taken. Their national work for landowners includes representing landowners coast-to-coast, including 11 states. More information is available online.