SWM primarily focuses on Rails-to-Trails litigation and they have successfully argued and won several ground-breaking legal issues to narrow the law for Fifth Amendment takings cases under the Trails Act. Their cases are filed in Washington, D.C. under the Tucker Act. There are very few law firms who have the "niche" of successfully representing property owners in Trails Act cases and no lawyers have been as successful as Tom Stewart, Steve Wald and Liz McCulley.
What sets SWM apart from other law firms handling Trails Act takings cases is that SWM does their research in advance and will only file a case that that it believes will be successful. SWM is well-versed on state property laws in various states and advises landowners if their land is in danger of being taken under the Trails Act because the federal government provides no actual real notice to the landowners. An added bonus is that SWM is very familiar with the Department of Justice and the Judges of the Court of Federal Claims in DC because of the volume of cases they handle. SWM handles a large majority of Trails Act takings cases currently pending in the Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C.
SWM has successfully represented property owners in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Washington.
For more information regarding Trails Act takings cases, please contact SWM at 844-44Rails.
Property Rights, Trespass, Declaratory Judgment and Quiet Title
SWM represents landowners regarding property rights following a Trails Act takings case. In many instances, a trail user will attempt to usurp a property owners rights in a former railroad right-of-way in which the property owner actually still owns the subsurface and aerial rights. SWM currently represents South Carolina and Washington landowners in such cases and are defending their rights so that the Trail user is not allowed to sell rights they don't own to utility companies for placement of sewer lines and overhead electric transmission lines.
Additionally, SWM represents landowners who own the fee title underlying current railroad rights-of-way where the railroad sells off rights to subsurface and aerial rights that it does not own.