Property Rights

Agosta v. United States

True North represents California landowners whose property the Federal government took under the federal Trails Act.  The federal Trails Act imposes a new easement for public recreation and a future possible railroad across landowners’ property.  The United States Supreme Court has ruled that when the federal government invokes the Trails Act, the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution requires to federal government to pay the owner “just compensation.” Preseault v. Interstate Commerce Commission, 494 U.S. 1 (1990).

The complaint provides an extensively researched history of the land the federal government took for the Great Redwood Trail and the history of the abandoned railroad right-of-way.  The complaint also summarizes the established precedent including the United States Supreme Court decisions holding the federal government must pay these landowners.

Thor Hearne of the True North Law firm is the lead attorney representing the landowners bringing this lawsuit.  On October 24th the federal government took private property from the owners of land along the 175-mile-long Great Redwood Trail through Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity Counties.  The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution absolutely requires the government pay landowners when it takes private property.  The easement for railroad right-of-way and the railway line was abandoned, the original railroad easement terminated, and the present-day owners hold title to the land.  The federal government, however, created a new easement for the Great Redwood Trail across these owners’ land mostly along the Eel River.  The federal Trails Act authorized the Surface Transportation Board to issue an order taking these owners’ land for the Great Redwoods Trail which is a new public rail-trail corridor.

Case Documents

Filings, Briefs, & Letters

Listen to Thor Hearne’s interview with Sarah Reith of Mendocino County KZYX news

MendoFever press release

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