Federal Land Suit Settled

At the end of October we took you to Hot Springs and told you about a David and Goliath-type battle being waged inside a federal courtroom.

After much deliberation a ruling in the case has been made.

If you can't fight City Hall, your chances of being successful fighting Uncle Sam would seem to be even slimmer.

That is why one hot springs couple is both relieved and vindicated.

It has been a long six weeks for Julie Williams and her husband James.

At the end of October they were in Federal court taking on a federal agencythe National Park Service.

Hot Springs National Park sued the Williamsescontending that a structure on their propertyan artistic building they have dubbed "The Opera House"encroaches onto Federal land.

Not a lot of federal landmaybe six to eight feetbut it was the principle that was in play.

U.S. District Judge Robert Dawson had a lot to consider.

Dueling surveys, different deeds and land transfers, platstractsmapssome going back as far as 1927.

Roadways and fences that once existed are no longer there.

It was a difficult and contentious case.

In the end Judge Dawson ruled that "While the court is sympathetic with defendant's charge to conserve and protect its lands, including Hot Springs National Park, for the enjoyment of all American citizens, the property in question does not belong to the defendant."

The judge found that the Williamses had proven that they hold legal title to the disputed property.

Lawyers for the National Park Service have 60 days to appeal this decision if they so choose.

Air date: December 17th, 2012