Oral arg. – Feb. 10, 2015

At 1:30 Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015, the Miss.S.Ct. Court will hear Delbert Hoseman in his capacity as Trustee of the Public Tidelands Trust, Jackson County and Ocean Springs v. David Neal Harris et al. 

This is a dispute over ownership of beach property south of the seawall in Ocean Springs.  Ocean Springs planned to build a sidewalk on the beach.  Some landowners, David Neil Harris and his wife (Harris is a chancellor in Jackson County) and Clyde Gunn filed for an injunction in Hinds County which was granted.  The landowners then went to court in Jackson County and asked to quiet title to the property either via title of adverse possession. A special chancellor was appointed.

The Chancellor granted Plaintiffs’ Partial Summary Judgment regarding the State’s claim that the property south of the toe of the seawall to the water’s edge constituted public trust tidelands holding that  “there is no factual basis for finding that the tidelands of the State extend any further inland than the mean high water line of the existing shoreland.” East Beach, then, is  not Public Trust Tidelands owned by the State. After a trial, the Chancellor found that title was confirmed in the Plaintiffs; that the City had a prescriptive easement to maintain the road known as East Beach Drive and that any and all other claims by the City for a prescriptive easement  were denied and removed as clouds on the title. The Chancellor held that the County had a prescriptive easement with respect to the Plaintiffs’ properties for the purpose of maintaining the sea wall joining East Beach Drive on the south side, which includes protecting the sloping sand beach south of the sea wall and that all other claims of adverse possession or easement were denied and removed as clouds on the title; and that all claims of the State and the Secretary of State were removed as clouds on title. The city, county and state appealed.

Jackson County’s brief.

Ocean Springs’ brief (notable as the first brief I’ve seen electronically filed with a color cover)

State’s brief

Harris/Gunn brief 

Jackson County’s reply

Ocean Springs’ reply

State’s reply 

Watch the argument here.

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