City of Jersey City v Consolidated Rail Corporation

United States District Court, District of Columbia, No. 09-1900, No. 14., 39, September 28, 2010: The City, Rails to Trails Conservancy (RTC) and a community coalition (Coalition) lacked standing to ask the court to block Conrail from abandoning rail property and selling it to a developer planning non-rail uses without first obtaining Surface Transportation Board (“the STB”) approval. The District Court found none of the plaintiffs established the imminent harm required to create standing.

In denying the RTC and Coalition standing the Court wrote, “Were these injuries [in the event of demolition of structures on the property and development as planned by the buyer, as had been offered in evidence by RTC and Coalition ] actual or imminent, there is little question that the RTC and the Coalition would have standing… The record, however, indicates that the demolition and development of the [property] is hardly a foregone conclusion….” The Court then identified municipal approvals which the buyer has yet to obtain (and is challenging in a separate action), and concluded that the injuries are not imminent if such approvals are not yet granted.

The Court also rejected the City’s claim to imminent harm, which was was based primarily on alleged difficulties of an eminent domain taking if the STB lacked jurisdiction on this property.

Decision available at https://ecf.dcd.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/show_public_doc?2009cv1900-57.

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