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Cecilia Fex

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Washington, District of Columbia

Cecilia Fex has over a decade of experience defending the property rights of individuals, associations, and corporations nationwide. With her practice dedicated exclusively to protecting private property interests, she is considered to be a leading expert on the national Trails Act, the Tucker Act, and right-of-way law, as well as in the complex body of law concerning federal railway grants. She has secured just compensation and payment of damages in takings cases against the federal government for over 200 property owners in several states, and she represents over 4,000 landowners nationwide in individual and class action cases that are pending on rails-to-trails takings claims. Additionally, Cecilia assists property owners in resisting unlawful takings and trespassing when hiker / biker trails are proposed.

On behalf of individuals and members in class actions, Cecilia is lead attorney in the firm's takings cases against the United States and she serves as lead lawyer and/or assists local lawyers on hiker / biker trail disputes to secure quiet title for her property-owner clients when the proposed hiker / biker trails are unlawful. In addition to litigating on behalf of clients, and participating in mediation, Cecilia negotiates outside of court for alternative solutions to clients' problems.

Cecilia has co-chaired in the Takings Committee in the United States Court of Federal Claims Bar Association. The Court of Federal Claims exercises original jurisdiction on any takings case or "Tucker Act" case brought against the United States. She also advises governmental and legislative committee members on aspects of private property, has contributed to proposed legislation to safeguard the rights of individuals and their properties with respect to rails-to-trails conversions.

As a property rights lawyer, Cecilia has achieved victories for her clients in landmark cases, helping to shape the law for generations to come. Private property takings cases in which Cecilia has had lead roles include the landmark case Hash v. United States, in which the Federal Circuit handed a victory to landowners who own reversionary rights in federal right-of-way grants, and where the Hash Court decision negated several, unfavorable appellate court decisions; the seminal case, Preseault v. United States (cutting-edge private property takings case in which Cecilia was Of Counsel with Nels Ackerson and represented the landowners during pre-trial, trial on damages for a hiker/biker trail conversion, and trial on fees); Bywaters v. United States (class action property takings case in which the U.S. Government lost the issue of certification and stipulated to liability; Lowers v. United States (class action property takings case in which United States lost the issue of class certification stipulated to liability, and which has since settled); Marriott v. United States (individual property takings case in which the court agreed with our client that the United States did not obtain any title in railroad right of way under Trails Act; damages settled); Schmitt v. United States (class action property takings case in which the United States lost the issues of certification and liability for a rails-to-trails conversion, and which has since been settled); and Schneider v. United States (state-wide class action property takings case in which the United States lost the issues of certification and liability; litigation is ongoing).

Washington, D.C.-based, Cecilia has also handled various agency and legislative matters on behalf of local and national clients before federal and regional governmental agencies. She has served as lead and co-lead counsel in federal and state jury and bench trials, administrative bench trials, and in mediation and alternative dispute resolution.

Areas of Practice

  • Complex Litigation
  • Taking Cases
  • Property Rights
  • Class Actions

Bar Admissions

  • Maryland, 1991
  • District of Columbia, 1992
  • U.S. District Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 7th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals Federal Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • U.S. Supreme Court


  • Harvard University Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts
    • J.D. - 1991
  • University of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland
    • B.A. summa cum laude - 1988
  • Montgomery College, School of Nursing
    • A.D. - 1982

Published Works

  • Rails-to-Trails: The Perspective Across the Tracks, (Co-Author), 70 J. Transp. L., Logistics & Pol y 142, 2003

Representative Cases


  • Court of Federal Claims Bar Association, Brown Bag Luncheon, Co-Host and Speaker, Accrual of a Takings Claim - Should the Court Apply a Single Unifying Approach When Deciding a Statute of Limitations Issue?
  • Rail Reversionary Interests: Do They Amount to Anything?, The Transportation Law Institute, Denver, Colorado, University of Denver College of Law
  • Valuation of Rights of Way, International Right-of-Way Association, Mobile, Alabama
  • The Battle for Rights on Railroad Corridors: Are Your Property Rights in Jeopardy and Is There a Solution?, International Right-of-Way Association, Orlando, Florida

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Federal Circuit Bar Association
  • Court of Federal Claims Bar Association
  • District of Columbia Bar Association
  • Harvard Law School Association
  • National Institute for Trial Advocacy