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HUGHES V. WASHINGTON, 389 U. S. 290 (1967)

U.S. Supreme Court

Hughes v. Washington, 389 U.S. 290 (1967)

Hughes v. Washington

No. 15

Argued November 6, 1967

Decided December 11, 1967

389 U.S. 290


Petitioner's predecessor in title received from the Federal Government a grant of ocean-front realty in what is now the State of Washington. The State asserts that, when it acquired statehood in 1889, its new constitution denied ocean-front property owners any further rights in accretion that might be formed between their property and the ocean. The trial court upheld petitioner's contention that the right to accretion remained subject to federal law, and that she was the owner of the accreted lands. The State Supreme Court reversed, holding that state law controlled, and that the State owned the lands.

Held: This question is governed by federal law, under which a grantee of land bounded by navigable water acquires a right to accretion formed along the shore, and the petitioner, who traces her title to a federal grant prior to statehood, is the owner of these accretions. Pp. 389 U. S. 291-294.

67 Wash.2d 799, 410 P.2d 20, reversed and remanded.

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