Stewart Wald & McCulley Files Federal Lawsuit on Behalf of 127 Landowners Affected by the Nickel Plate Rails-to-Trails Conversion

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Landowners seek just compensation from the federal government under the 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution for the taking of their property; lawsuit does not attempt to stop the rail-to-trail conversion

On Dec. 21, 2018, the federal government authorized a 20.87 mile portion of the former railroad right of way known as the Nickel Plate Railroad, running from Indianapolis to Fishers and then to Noblesville, to be converted to a recreational trail, by the United States Surface Transportation Board’s issuance of a Notice of Interim Trail Use (“NITU”).

Because adjoining landowners claim to own the land in the railroad right of way – since the original railroad just had an easement over the land – the land was supposed to revert to them upon the abandonment of the railroad. Thus, federal governmental action had the effect of taking the adjoining landowners’ property. Accordingly, 127 landowners have filed a lawsuit against the United States for just compensation for taking their property, a legal theory that has been successfully litigated dozens of times. The landowners request that they be paid the fair market value of their property that was taken, which is expected to be in the millions of dollars. The case was filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 26, 2018. (Pressly, et. al v. United States of America)

The law firm of Stewart Wald & McCulley represents the 127 landowners. Because there are still hundreds of landowners who have not yet chosen to pursue their claims, SWM will be holding informational town hall meetings for these landowners January 7-9, at the following places and times:

January 7:
5:30 p.m., Central Library, Goodrich Houk Meeting Room, 40 East St. Clair St., Indianapolis

January 8:
10 a.m., Central Library, Goodrich Houk Meeting Room, 40 East St. Clair St., Indianapolis
12 p.m., Exhibition Center, Conference Room, 2003 Pleasant St., Noblesville
5:30 p.m., Comfort Inn Fishers, Meeting Room, 9760 Crosspoint Blvd., Indianapolis

January 9
8:30 a.m., Hilton Indianapolis Hotel & Suites, 120 W. Market St., Indianapolis

SWM is a law firm that focuses on rails-to-trails litigation and has won many millions of dollars for thousands of landowners in various states around the country, more than any other firm. The firm has offices in St. Louis and Kansas City, Mo. More information is available at

Affected landowners can contact Steven Wald at 314.265.9552 or wald(at)

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Katherine Barnard
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