May 20, 2016

Highest court of New York strikes a blow for property rights

By Mark Miller Senior Attorney

empire-state-buildingEarlier this month, the New York Court of Appeals handed a victory to New York landowners. PLF proudly supported the landowners who brought the case, and we want to highlight this victory for property rights in a state that often does not recognize them as it should.

In a short opinion, the highest court of New York vacated a lower court appellate decision that held that a private waterway, recognized by the State of New York and the people of the state as private for more than 160 years, magically became public because a renegade kayaker decided to prove he could traipse across private land and make his way down some (not all!) of the private waterway in his one-person kayak. That decision turned longstanding understanding of the private ownership of land on its head, and we applaud the New York High Court for vacating the lower court’s preposterous decision. Instead of belaboring the facts in this post, I will point you to our earlier blog posts on the case here and here.

The Court remanded the case, known as Friends of Thayer Lake v. Phil Brown, for further factual development. PLF will track the case closely and stands ready to support the landowners again when that time comes.

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