Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Members of the Brandt family filed a lawsuit to prevent the forest service from converting an abandoned railroad track into a bike trail, which would run through their land. They argued that when the family was given the land in 1976, which now is held in trust, they agreed to the government using a portion of the land for a railroad, but never agreed to the land being used as a bike path. The family lost their battle in the lower courts, but prevailed in the United States Supreme Court.
In Marvin Brandt Revocable Trust v. United States, the Court held that the land was abandoned by the government after 5 years of not using the tracks. This decision may have an affect on 80 current cases, but the complete impact is unknown due to the lack of a centralized database to record these type of land claims by the government.
See Bill Chappell, Family Trust Wins Supreme Court Fight Against Bike Trail, NPR, Mar. 10, 2014.
Special thanks to Laura Galvan (Attorney, San Antonio, Texas) for bringing this article to my attention.