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Does State's Public Trust Authority over Lake Erie Extend to High Water Mark, or End at Water's Edge?
Case Also Asks Whether Attorney General Has Independent Authority to Appeal a Judgment Adverse to the State Without Direction from Governor or Legislature
State ex rel. Robert Merrill, Trustee, et al. v. State of Ohio, Department of Natural Resources, et al., Case no. 2009-1806
11th District Court of Appeals (Lake County)
* Does the state's "public trust" authority over Lake Erie and the land underlying the lake within the borders of Ohio extend to the "ordinary high water mark" on the shore, or stop at the water's edge?
* When a trial in which the State of Ohio is a defendant results in a judgment adverse to the state, does the Ohio Attorney General have independent legal standing to pursue an appeal of that judgment on behalf of the state, or does the Attorney General have standing to appeal only when acting under the direction of the General Assembly or the direction of the Governor on behalf of an administrative agency?
BACKGROUND: This case involves lawsuits initiated by two groups of Lake County property owners whose properties immediately adjoin Lake Erie. The cases were consolidated and subsequently certified as a class action on behalf of all owners of private property directly adjoining Lake Erie within the borders of Ohio.