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Marvin M. Brandt Revocable Trust v. United States involves the General Railroad Right-of-Way Act of 1875 ("1875 Act"), under which thousands of miles of rights-of-way exist across the United States. In Great Northern Ry. Co. v. United States, 315 U.S. 262 (1942), the Supreme Court held that 1875 Act rights-of-way are easements and not limited fees with an implied reversionary interest. Based upon the 1875 Act and the Court's decisions, 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. Did the United States retain an implied reversionary interest in 1875 Act rights-of way after the underlying lands were patented into private ownership? Our experts attended oral arguments and offered their impressions to a live Teleforum audience.
- Nancie G. Marzulla, Partner, Marzulla Law
- Hon. Roger J. Marzulla, Partner, Marzulla Law
- Moderator: Dean Reuter, Vice President and Director of Practice Groups, The Federalist Society