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AG Gansler: Maryland and Virginia Submit Joint Brief in Appeal of Dispute Over State Boundary, Access to Potomac River

Baltimore, MD (May 9, 2014) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring today submitted a joint amicus curiae brief to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals expressing their unified reasoning concerning the Potomac River boundary between the states and each state's historic rights to the River. Neither state is a party to the lawsuit, Potomac Shores, Inc. v. River Riders, Inc, and the states are filing the "friend of the court" brief at the Court's request.

"It is gratifying to once again work in collaboration with our colleagues from Virginia," said Attorney General Gansler. "This joint effort is about legal issues, shaped over decades, that have provided a structure for cooperation between our two great states."

"The history of cooperation between the Commonwealth of Virginia and the State of Maryland dates back to the very founding of this nation, and I am pleased to see this cooperation continues nearly three centuries later," said Attorney General Herring. "Each state has long recognized the right of the other to access the Potomac River for navigation and recreation, but the plaintiff seeks to undo that with a novel claim that contradicts hundreds of years of case law and agreements between the states. I hope the court will note that the states are speaking in a unified voice to defend our shared rights of access and the state boundary as we both understand it."

At issue is whether the boundary between Virginia and Maryland is the low-water mark on the Virginia side of the Potomac River as it existed in 1877 or whether the boundary is the current low-water mark, accounting for changes in the shoreline due to erosion and accretion, as Maryland and Virginia jointly contend.

A decision in the case is expected later this year. To view a copy of the Attorneys General brief filed in the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, visit:

Virginia Contact:
Kevin O'Holleran
(804)786-5533 office
(804)356-5387 cell


Attorney General of Maryland 1 (888) 743-0023 toll-free / TDD: (410) 576-6372
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