NEBRASKA TRAIL SETTLEMENTS
Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the lawsuit about?
  2. What is Decertification and how does that affect my rights?
  3. How do I know if I am part of the class?
  4. Are there exceptions to who is included in the Class?
  5. What if I did not receive a notice in the mail and I believe I am part of the Class?
  6. Do I have to pay the lawyers?
  7. How much could you get?
  8. How do you get a payment?
  9. What should I do if I move?
  10. How do I get more information?


1. What is the lawsuit about?

On November 5, 1999, Plaintiff William Schneider filed an amended class action complaint seeking just compensation from the United States government for landowners adjoining 15 railroad rights of way in the State of Nebraska. Plaintiff alleged that the United States engaged in a taking of landowners’ private property by authorizing recreational use on these former railroad rights of way pursuant to the National Trails System Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 1241-1251 (“Trails Act”).

Subsequently, in the matter of Schneider v. United States, Civil Action No. 8.99-CV-0315, a federal court in Nebraska ruled that the United States is liable, in some circumstances, for a taking of private property rights underling, or adjacent to, certain railroad rights of the way in the State of Nebraska, and this taking is compensable under the Fifth Amendment of the U. S. Constitution. The court has recently determined that the class action should now be decertified, effective on January 16, 2018. The court has also determined that affected property owners must decide whether to pursue a financial recovery as individual plaintiffs in the action.

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2. What is Decertification and how does that affect my rights?

The court has issued an Order decertifying the class action, effective as of January 16, 2018. All persons or entities who were members of the above-described Class who may possess claims against the United States will no longer be parties to this suit as of January 16, 2018 unless they take action now to confirm that they wish to pursue their claims as individual plaintiffs in the action.

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3. How do I know if I am part of the class?

A detailed notice, and other supporting documents are available for review at this website www.NebraskaTrailSettlements.com, and they can help you determine if you are affected. Generally, you may be eligible if you or your predecessor in title owned property between 1993 – 1999, next to or over which a railroad company had a right of way that is now used as a recreational trail in the following counties in Nebraska: Douglas, Otoe, Nemaha, Dawes, Sioux, Saunders, Butler, Sarpy, Madison, Antelope, Holt, Rock, Brown, Cherry, Sheridan, Buffalo, Saline, Thayer, Clay, Fillmore, Nuckolls, Webster, Lancaster, Jefferson and Gage.

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4. Are there exceptions to who is included in the Class?

Railroad companies and their successors in interest are excluded. Also persons who have previously opted out of this class action litigation are excluded.

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5. What if I did not receive a notice in the mail and I believe I am part of the Class?

If you believe you may be qualified, and you did not receive a notice in the mail, you must submit a Joinder Form to plaintiffs’ counsel to potentially be eligible for compensation. If sent by mail, the submission must be postmarked by January 11, 2018. The Joinder Form may also be submitted by e-mail or by facsimile, but it must be received by plaintiffs’ counsel before January 16, 2018, the date the class will be decertified. There is no cost to you to join the lawsuit as a plaintiff and you will not be asked to compensate the attorneys for their work.

A Joinder Form is available on the website or you may call or email plaintiffs’ counsel to request a form at:

Nebraska Trail Settlements
c/o Zelle, LLP
500 Washington Avenue South, Suite 4000
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Telephone: 1-800-899-5291
Facsimile: 1-612-336-9100
E-mail: dbowen@zelle.com
www.NebraskaTrailSettlements.com

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6. Do I have to pay the lawyers?

Zelle, LLP are the attorneys that previously represented the Class. There is no cost to you to join the lawsuit as a plaintiff and you will not be asked to compensate the attorneys for their work.

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7. How much could you get?

Payments will be based on the appraised value of the taking up to a limit of $10,000 per claim. Payment will also include interest.

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8. How do you get a payment?

You must submit a Joinder Form to be included as a party in the case and potentially qualify for payment. The Joinder Form can be accessed via the website, or can be requested by contacting plaintiffs’ counsel as noted below. The Joinder Form must be submitted by facsimile or e-mail on or before January 16, 2018, or by mail postmarked no later than January 11, 2018.

Nebraska Trail Settlements
c/o Zelle, LLP
500 Washington Avenue South, Suite 4000
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Telephone: 1-800-899-5291
Facsimile: 1-612-336-9100
E-mail: dbowen@zelle.com
www.NebraskaTrailSettlements.com

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9. What should I do if I move?

If you move after you receive the notice, please provide your new address to:

Nebraska Trail Settlements
c/o Zelle, LLP
500 Washington Avenue South, Suite 4000
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Telephone: 1-800-899-5291
Facsimile: 1-612-336-9100
E-mail: dbowen@zelle.com
www.NebraskaTrailSettlements.com

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10. How do I get more information?

If you still have questions, you can contact plaintiffs’ counsel at:

Nebraska Trail Settlements
c/o Zelle, LLP
500 Washington Avenue South, Suite 4000
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Telephone: 1-800-899-5291
Facsimile: 1-612-336-9100
E-mail: dbowen@zelle.com

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