Posts tagged "Recreation"

Murray, et al. v. Department of Conservation and Recreation (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-115-16)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030;   SJC-12002   ELAINE K. MURRAY & another[1]  vs.  DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION AND RECREATION.       Suffolk.     April 5, 2016. – August 4, 2016.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.[2]     Land Court, Jurisdiction.  Jurisdiction, Land Court.  Railroad.  Easement.  Real Property, Easement.       Civil action commenced in the Land Court Department on September 19, 2011.   The case was heard by Gordon H. Piper, J., on motions for summary judgment.   The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.     David A. Murray (Peter M. Schilling with him) for the plaintiffs. Frances S. Cohen, Assistant Attorney General, for the defendant.          SPINA, J.  The plaintiffs appeal from a judgment of the Land Court dismissing without prejudice their action to quiet title under G. L. c. 240, §§ 6-10, for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.[3]  The thrust of their action is that a railroad easement formerly owned by the Pennsylvania Central Transportation Co. (Penn Central) across portions of their lands was abandoned when the United States Railway Association (USRA), acting pursuant to the Regional Rail Reorganization Act of 1973, devised a final system plan which designated certain profitable rail lines that were to be transferred from eight bankrupt regional rail carriers in the northeast and the midwest regions of the country to the Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail), but not the rail line over the easement that encumbered their lands.  The plaintiffs contended that the railroad easement over their lands was abandoned by virtue of its nondesignation for transfer to Conrail in the final system plan.  The judge in the Land Court disagreed and concluded that a certificate of abandonment from the Federal Surface Transportation Board (STB) was necessary before a State court could exercise jurisdiction to determine State law claims regarding easements, and that STB’s jurisdiction was both exclusive and primary.  The plaintiffs appealed, and we transferred the case to this court on our own motion.  We affirm the judgment of the Land Court. Facts.  The following facts are undisputed.  Boston and Worcester Railroad (B&W) was created in 1831.  In 1847 it filed a “Plan of Location of the Newton Railroad” with the Middlesex County commissioners.  The easement over the plaintiffs’ properties appears as part of the proposed railroad line depicted on the […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - August 4, 2016 at 2:12 pm

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