- Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
- Area(s) of Law: Property Law
- Date Filed: October 1, 2013
- Case #: 12-1173
- Judge(s)/Court Below: Court Below: 710 F.3d 1369 (Fed. Cir. 2013)
- Full Text Opinion
In 1908, the United States granted the railroad the right-of-way at issue to the Pacific Railroad Company. In 1976, the government conveyed 83.32 acres of land partially burdened by the railroad right-of-way to Petitioner's parents. The land patent conveyed the property in fee simple and stated that it was subject to the right-of-way. The property was placed into a family trust, which Petitioner acquired.
The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the government, finding that it retained a reversionary interest in the rail-road right-of-way. In other cases the Federal and Seventh Circuits have concluded that the United States did not retain an implied reversionary interest in 1875 Act rights-of-way after the underlying lands were patented into private ownership. In this case, the Tenth Circuit reached the opposite conclusion and acknowledged that its decision would continue a circuit split.
The Supreme Court granted certiorari to determine whether the United States held an implied reversionary interest in rights-of-way created by the General Railroad Right of Way Act in 1875 rights-of-way after the aforementioned lands were transferred to private ownership.