Amtrak Couldn't Challenge Condemnation 7 Years After It Knew Of Its Injury

Tuesday, July 03, 2018 8:44 am
July 2018 - Volume 46 Number 7

Amtrak’s claim challenging condemnation of its property began to accrue when it knew or had reason to know that New York was taking its property, not when the taking was complete.

Facts: In 2001, the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) began negotiating with the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) to purchase some of Amtrak’s property. NYSDOT planned to build an urban parkland called the Bronx River Greenway, and to do so required building on several parcels of land owned by Amtrak. The negotiations did not progress, and in April 2005, NYSDOT initiated condemnation proceedings under New York’s Eminent Domain Procedure Law.

Pursuant to the statute, it published notices about a public hearing scheduled for May 2005, and it sent written notice to Amtrak. However, the written notice was not sent to the statutory address where Amtrak is supposed to receive service of process. Nevertheless, an NYSDOT employee called and emailed an Amtrak official about the May 2005 hearing. That email was forwarded to the Project Director of Real Estate Development and Amtrak’s legal department.

As required by statute, NYSDOT held the public hearing on the condemnation proceedings on May 19, 2005. Amtrak did not attend the hearing or submit written[..]