U. S. Supreme Court Rules Against Florida Oceanfront Property Owners

This week, in an 8-0 decision the U.S. Supreme Court rules that land filled by the State in front of ocean front property owners is the property of the State and that no illegal taking had occurred. The case is based on a suit filed when the State re-nourished beaches in front of private property owners where beaches had been severely damaged by hurricanes.  The Court reasoned that the mean high tide line is the boundary between the State land and private property owners. Land which is a result of accretion (gradual building up of land) to the private beach becomes the property of the owners by State law. However, land that is deposite4d by avulsion (sudden and rapid deposit of land)  does not add to the property owners land by law. Since the State filled land that was originally submerged and it was a sudden occurrence  the Court ruled that this was an avulsion event. Therefore the State did not illegally take land from the property owners.

While OLG and all shoreline property owners would have liked this case to be decided differently, this Florida case is unique to tidal waters and is a very special case where the State filled eroded beaches. The case is not relevant OLG’s case before the Ohio Supreme Court and should not be considered by the Judges.

To read the U.S. Supreme Court ruling click this link: www.supremecourt.gov