Marks v. Whitney

491 P.2d 374 (1971)

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Marks v. Whitney

California Supreme Court
491 P.2d 374 (1971)

Facts

Larry H. Marks, Jr. (plaintiff) owned a parcel of land on Tomales Bay, a navigable body of water that experienced daily tides. Part of Marks’s property consisted of tidelands that ran along most of the shoreline of property owned by Marks’s neighbor, Peter D. Whitney (defendant). At high tide, the tidelands were submerged by the waters of the bay and were therefore navigable. Whitney used the tidelands to access both the bay and a seven-foot-wide wharf. Marks claimed that he had the right to fill and develop the tidelands, but Whitney objected, arguing that, as a member of the public, he had rights in the tidelands. According to Whitney, if Marks filled and developed the tidelands, he would impermissibly cut of Whitney’s access both to the tidelands themselves and to the navigable waters covering them. Marks sued to quiet title, and Whitney requested, among other things, that the trial court declare that Marks’s title to the tidelands was burdened with a public-trust easement. The trial court held that Whitney lacked standing to raise the public-trust issue and declined to decide whether a public-trust easement existed. Whitney appealed to the California Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (McComb, J.)

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