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Hage Takings Case Denied Hearing by Claims

Hage Takings Case Denied Hearing by Claims


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The historic Hage v. United States takings case is finally coming to a close after 23 years in court. The award of compensation for the taking of the Hage’s water, rights-of-way and range improvements was reversed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in 2012 (Appellate Court). Now it appears that the United States Court of Federal Claims (Claims Court) will not be granting the Plaintiffs a hearing to allow them to argue that only parts of the compensation claim were reversed.
Plaintiffs asked for the hearing in the Claims Court to allow them to argue that the Appellate Court reversed part, but not all, of the Claims Court decision, which originally awarded compensation for $14.4 million dollars as well as attorney fees. In a November 4, 2013 decision, the Claims Court denied a hearing finding that the Appeals Court did in fact reverse the entire compensation award. Plaintiffs have submitted additional motions, but a hearing appears unlikely.
The case was originally filed in 1991 by Wayne and Jean Hage, two Nevada ranchers whose story is well known in the West. In fact, Fox News will be airing their story in a special report this Saturday, April 5, 2014 at 10 P.M. EST and again on Sunday, April 6th at 9 P.M. EST. The program is titled “Enemies of the State.”
Wayne and Jean Hage purchased Pine Creek Ranch in 1978, a large cow-calf operation in Central Nevada comprised of 7,000 private deeded acres and 752,000 acres of federal grazing lands. They owned all the water on the ranch, adjudicated by the State of Nevada, for livestock grazing. Immediately after purchasing the property, their ranching operation became a target of the federal agencies. The water, while not very valuable for livestock grazing, is gravity flow to Los Angeles, California and Las Vegas, Nevada.
Within a short time of owning the ranch, the U.S. Forest Service filed claim to the Hage’s water rights, fenced off critical springs, and eventually canceled their grazing permits.

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