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home : most recent : statewide implications December 9, 2018

11/29/2018 11:46:00 AM
Indiana's Lake Michigan shore lawsuit could end up before U.S. Supreme Court

Carol Kugler, Herald-Times

The ownership of Indiana’s sandy shores along Lake Michigan is at stake in a lawsuit the U.S. Supreme Court may consider next year.

“This is about who owns the beach,” said Jeffrey Hyman, an attorney with the Conservation Law Center in Bloomington.

Hyman is talking about a precedent-setting case about the boundary between private and public lands along Lake Michigan’s shores that the U.S. Supreme Court may hear next year. The Conservation Law Center has been involved almost from the beginning in 2014. 

It’s the first Indiana Supreme Court decision that will decide the extent and boundary of public trust land on Lake Michigan’s Indiana shore. Public trust land is owned by the state and held for public use, Hyman said.

When the case was filed in LaPorte Superior Court, Don H. and Bobbie J. Gunderson were seeking a judgment that their property along the Lake Michigan shore extended to the lake waterline, which would not allow people to walk along the lake shore adjacent to their property. The case pitted the Gundersons against the state of Indiana, which contended the couple’s property ended at the average high water mark of the lake, which would allow people to walk, bird watch, swim and fish on the beach.

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