Property Rights

Brannan v. State of Texas

Defending beachfront property rights against “rolling easements”

After a 1998 tropical storm moved the vegetation line landward of Texas beachfront homes, state officials informed the beachfront homeowners that, based on its policy of considering the public beach to extend inland to the vegetation line (wherever it goes), the homes were encroachments on a public beach and subject to removal for violating the State’s Open Beaches Act. That “rolling easement” policy was invalidated by PLF’s Texas Supreme Court victory in Severance v. Patterson (2012). PLF represented Angela Brannan and other beachfront homeowners in Surfside, Texas, who were subjected to the “rolling easement” and resulting loss of their property by government fiat. The Texas Court of Appeals ruled that the owners could pursue their takings claims as validated by the Severance case. Local counsel took over the case on remand.

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