Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Case of the Week

State ex rel. Merrill v. Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources

Background:  Lakefront-property owners brought action against Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), seeking declaration that owners of property abutting Lake Erie held title to the land between the ordinary high-water mark and the actual legal boundary of their properties as defined by their deeds, and that the public trust did not include nonsubmerged lands, or in the alternative seeking to compel the state to compensate them for its alleged taking of their property.

Holding: The territory of Lake Erie held in trust by the state of Ohio for the people of the state extends to the natural shoreline, which is the line at which the water usually stands when free from disturbing causes.

Steve Clowney

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