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Justices take certified question on railroad issue

June 27, 2011

The Indiana Supreme Court has accepted a certified question posed by the United States Court of Federal Claims regarding railbanking and interim trail use.

The question  from Howard v. United States, No. 09-575L, is “Under Indiana law, are railbanking and interim trail use pursuant to 16 U.S.C. § 1247(d) uses that are within the scope of the easements acquired by the railroad companies either by prescription, condemnation, or the deed at issue; and if either is not within the scope of the easements originally acquired, is railbanking with the interim tr[ai]l use a shifting public use?”

Henry Howard and other plaintiffs filed suit against the United States in September 2009 based on the Fifth Amendment prohibition of taking private property for public use without just compensation. The suit involves land in Cass and Pulaski counties adjacent to a railroad line that the plaintiffs say the U.S. took under the National Trails System Act of Amendments of 1983.

Main briefs are due July 25; response briefs are due August 15.
 

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