Affirms denial of appellant’s MSJ in suit to quiet title to railroad property and enjoin appellee from blocking access

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Appellant-Plaintiff, Timberlake, Inc. (Timberlake), appeals the trial court’s denial of its motion for summary judgment to quiet title to a railroad right-of-way and for trespass. Appellee-Defendant, Daniel O’Brien (O’Brien), cross-appeals the trial court’s finding that he held a railroad right-of-way easement rather than a fee interest in the railroad property.

Conclusion (slip op. at 17):  We hold that the trial court properly determined that O’Brien holds a railroad right-of-way easement, the usage of which is restricted by the provisions included in the 1881 Deeds. Affirmed.

Key Analysis (slip op. at 13, 16):  In light of the clear language indicating the conveyance of a right-of-way combined with the limiting purpose to which the land was to be put, we conclude that the Deeds are properly construed as passing only an easement to the railroad, its successors, lessees and assigns and not a fee simple . . . At the time CSX quitclaimed the Railroad Property to O’Brien, CSX had not yet statutorily abandoned the property and could convey its interest in the Railroad Property to O’Brien. As such, O’Brien holds an easement for a railroad right-of-way over the Railroad Property.

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Bose McKinney & Evans LLP is a business law firm, headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, serving both publicly held and privately held businesses, governmental entities and high-growth industries. Our clients include Fortune 100 companies, international manufacturers, national and regional financial institutions, agribusinesses, sports teams, university-incubated start-ups, media, utilities, cities and schools, to name a few. We strive to build strong relationships with our clients as key business advisors, to exceed expectations in the quality of our work, to be knowledgeable about our clients’ businesses and sectors, to be responsive to service needs and to continually seek to improve the delivery of client services. Our ultimate focus is on our clients.
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