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Willson v. The Black Bird Creek Marsh Company
United States Supreme Court
27 U.S. 245 (1829)
The Black Bird Creek Marsh Company (the Company) (plaintiff) was authorized by a Delaware law to construct a dam across a creek that fed into the Delaware River through a deep-level marsh. The creek was navigable, and the tide ebbed and flowed through it. Constructing the dam likely enhanced the value of property on the banks of the marsh. The health of the inhabitants of these properties was also probably improved by the construction of the dam. However, the dam also stops a previously navigable creek and, therefore, impacts the rights of those who had been using the creek. The owners of a boat (defendants) broke the dam. The defendants were sued by the Company for trespass. The defendants challenged the authority of the state to authorize the construction of the dam.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Marshall, C.J.)
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