Reply Merit Brief filed  by co-plaintiff Homer S. Taft

In the final brief  to the Ohio Supreme Court on behalf of property owners, co-plaintiff Homer Taft raises  separate issues and makes persuasive argument against the State and Intervening  defendants National Wildlife Federation and Ohio Environmental Council.

Taft’s first proposition regarding the boundary between private property and the public trust is:

The furthest landward boundary of the State of Ohio’s public trust interest in the waters of Lake Erie and the lands underlying those waters is the low water mark of Lake Erie when those lands were conveyed into private ownership, subject to natural long term changes which occur thereafter. Where those lands are prresently under water, the ownership of the soil beneath the waters is only affected where long term, imperceptible erosion is shown to reduce that grant by natural occurrence. The best evidence locating that boundary is usually contained in the conveyance documents to owners and the surveys and descriptions of the conveyance in the chain of title if a particular property.

Taft’s second proposition regarding interveners NWF/OEC:

“In an action of property owners against agencies of the State of Ohio respecting the boundary of submerged lands of Lake Erie with their littoral lands, membership organizations whose members claim a recreational right in the public lands may not properly intervene as defendants under Civ. R. 24 especially as a matter of right where they neither claim nor demonstrate any property interest of such organization or even a property right generally and collectively of its members, in the boundary issue which is the subject of the “main action””.

The entire brief is only 25 pages and is good reading. You can access it by clicking Taft Reply 4th Merit Brief