The U.S. Court of Federal Claims recently approved a valuation of property that had been acquired under the federal rails-to-trails program, which assumed zoning restrictions on that property would reasonably be removed. In Childers v. United States, the owners of 13 parcels of property in Sarasota, Florida sought $8.7 million in compensation when the Government imposed a recreational trail on their property under the Rails to Trails Act.
The U.S. Court of Federal Claims recently denied the Government’s motion for summary judgment in a breach-of-contract case, holding that despite the court’s reservations about the legal merits of some claims, a decision after trial was a more appropriate method to resolve those claims. In Weston/Bean Joint Venture v. United States, a dredging company had been contracted to dredge and dispose of contaminated material from the Miami River in Florida. The company alleged that when it began dredging, it discovered the material (gravel, cobbles, and boulders) was significantly larger than the contract had specified. The company also alleged that during the course of performance, the Government’s specifications caused a seawall to collapse, increasing the cost of the operation. After exhausting administrative options, the company sued in the CFC for $12 million.