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High court refuses to review Hage lawsuit

Published on December 31, 1969 3:01AM

Last changed on September 9, 2013 7:25AM

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to review a lawsuit launched by Sagebrush Rebellion icon Wayne Hage against the federal government over property rights.

Hage's battle with the U.S. Forest Service dates back to the 1970s and eventually led to the filing of a lawsuit in 1991 alleging the agency had unlawfully taken his property without just compensation.

In 2008, a federal judge agreed with Hage that the Forest Service had deprived him of water rights and rangeland improvements on public land in Nevada's Toiyabe National Forest.

Hage had died two years before the ruling, but his estate ended up winning a $4.4 million judgment from the government. However, the award was overturned last year by a federal appeals court.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held that Hage hadn't sufficiently proven he could put his water rights to beneficial use.

The appellate court also ruled that he should have directly sought compensation for rangeland improvements from the Forest Service before filing a lawsuit.

Hage's estate appealed the ruling, but the nation's highest court has now let it stand.

-- Mateusz Perkowski


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