Ferguson v. Stokes

Jerry Ferguson constructed a causeway extending to an island in the Rappahannock River. Plaintiffs later acquired the property adjacent to the island and causeway and all riparian rights appurtenant to the shoreline. In 1988, Ferguson acquired the island and causeway via quitclaim deed. In 2006, Plaintiffs filed suit seeking a judgment against Ferguson for interfering with their riparian rights. The suit ended with a settlement agreement in which Ferguson agreed to purchase Plaintiffs’ shoreline property. Ferguson defaulted on his payment. In 2010, the circuit court entered an order concluding that Plaintiffs were the owners of the shoreline property and Ferguson owned no shoreline property or riparian rights in the area claimed by Plaintiffs. Plaintiffs subsequently filed an ejectment action against Ferguson alleging that his oyster house on the island was located within their riparian zone. The circuit court awarded Plaintiffs fee simple possession of the oyster house. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the circuit court did not err in determining that Ferguson could not rely on Va. Code Ann. 28.2-1200.1(B)(2) to defeat Plaintiffs’ claim for ejectment or to establish ownership rights in the bottomlands under the island and causeway; and (2) the circuit court did not err in ordering Ferguson to vacate the oyster house. View "Ferguson v. Stokes" on Justia Law