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OLG Lawsuit Heard by Ohio Supreme Court – Media Responds

The Ohio Supreme Court were heard oral arguments in our class action lawsuit on Tuesday February 1. Three buses of lakefront property owners never got to Columbus due to the snowstorm Monday night. Instead, many watched the proceedings via a live video stream from the Court. The video is still available on the Court archives. (Watch video).

The Justices questioned both sides and asked each to describe the place that they would place the public/private boundary on Lake Erie.

OLG’s attorney James F. Lang stated that it should be as the  Common Pleas and Appellate Courts decided, at  the water’s edge, the boundary where the land and water normally meet at rest when undisturbed by short term natural forces.

Homer S. Taft, co-joined plaintiff in the lawsuit, stated that the boundary should be at the low water mark of Lake Erie.

Assistant Attorney General, Stephen P. Carney stated that the boundary should be at a place somewhere between the water’s edge and the ordinary high water mark. This was a change for the State who had previously argued that the boundary is at the ordinary high water mark.

The media around the State has picked up the story and published their accounts. The links to each of the stories are listed below.

Please note that some newspapers change their hyperlinks daily, so it is advised that articles of interest be read today as they might not be accessible later.

Justices weigh rights to beachfront access – Columbus Dispatch (Feb. 2)

Lake Erie property line dispute reaches the Ohio Supreme Court – Cleveland Plain Dealer (Feb. 2)

Ohio high court hears case on Lake Erie property lines – Toledo Blade (Feb. 2)

Ohio high court hears arguments in case involving state’s interest in lakefront property – Associated Press (Feb. 1),0,644313.story

Lakefront case battled before Supreme Court – Lorain Morning Journal (Feb. 2)

Ohio Supreme Court hears lakefront case – Willoughby News-Herald (Feb. 2)

The news articles are compiled by the Supreme Court of Ohio, Office of Public Information as a service to the judicial branch of Ohio government. The purpose of this service is to keep judges, court staff and other interested parties informed of the latest developments affecting the practice of law in Ohio, the administration of justice and public perceptions of the judiciary. News stories in the daily articles are selected after the consideration of certain criteria, including the following: the article contains specific search terms (such as “Ohio Supreme Court” or the name of a Justice), concerns a case before the Supreme Court, concerns a case of great general interest to the judicial and legal community, references major events or trends in law and comes from a publication of general circulation. News stories will not be included if they contain profanity or vulgarity or come from a publication that defines its circulation and audience in terms of a special interest. Exclusively political stories will not be included, except stories about the announcement of a candidacy for judicial office, major editorial endorsements of candidates for judicial office, and the outcome of judicial elections.

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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

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Tony Yankel on the Big Outdoors radio show – WLW AM 700 Cincinnati

Ohio Lakefront Group President Tony Yankel recently discussed the group’s ongoing legal battle over the state’s improper taking of their deeded land on the Big Outdoors radio show, WLW AM 700 Cincinnati.

During the interview, Yankel and program hosts Chip Hart and Rick Combs discuss how the Ohio Lakefront Group’s case – currently before the Ohio Supreme Court – could impact property rights along Ohio lakes, rivers and streams. The program aired on November 27, 2010.

Listen to the interview here:


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Tony Yankel and Richard Cordray on WCPN Radio

Listen to WCPN Sound of Ideas host Mike McIntyre interview OLG President Tony Yankel, Attorney General Richard Cordray, OLG Attorney James Lang, and Ohio Environmental Council Deputy Director Jack Shaner and discuss the current Ohio State and National Wildlife Federation/Ohio Environmental Council Appeal before the Supreme Court. The program was aired on Thursday September 23 from 9-10 AM at 90.3 FM.

Listen to the interview here: WCPN Sound of Ideas – Sept_23_2010

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