Jim Lang And His Team Of Attorneys
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Pier Case Victory for Homeowners in Fairfax County

Waterfront Law Team Defends Homeowner Riparians Rights in Fairfax County Circuit Court

Our Waterfront Law team won a community pier case in Fairfax County Circuit Court this week for The Reserve Community Association. The victory ensured that residents get to keep their boat slips on the community pier as against a lawsuit from a neighbor who wanted to take them away. If you are considering building a pier, you may want to read - Five Things to Know About Building a Pier in Virginia, by our very own Bryan Peeples.

When all this started, the homeowners association knew there was only one option for who they wanted to defend their case: “Even though we live in Northern Virginia and Jim Lang is located in Virginia Beach, he came highly recommended as an expert in riparian rights,” said Ann Poloncak, a member of The Reserve Community Association.

The Reserve Community Association originally hired Pender and Coward to represent them in their bid to obtain additional pier slips for their community pier located on the Potomac River in Lorton, Virginia. Suddenly and unexpectedly one of the residents and members of the homeowners’ association who did not have one of the 9 boat slips assigned to them sued the association to take away everyone’s boat slip.

“This whole episode was clearly an attempt by a homeowner experiencing buyer’s remorse to bring the association to its financial breaking point so that the merits would not be the deciding factor in the final outcome.” said one member of the association.

After several years of litigation, and a hard fought three-day trial in Fairfax County Circuit Court, Jim Lang, Jeff Wilson, and other Waterfront Law team members helped deliver a victory for our clients.

Aerial View of Virginia Community

Aerial view of community pier located on the Potomac River in Lorton.


Virginia Riparian Rights Experience You Can Count On

Jim Lang and the Waterfront Property Law team works all over the state of Virginia. This case was located 200 miles from our offices, but the homeowners’ association knew that experience in waterfront property rights was more important than office location.

Ms. Poloncak added, “Pender & Coward rose to the occasion. Jim brought in another excellent attorney from the Pender & Coward Waterfront Property Law team, Jeff Wilson, and together they tackled every motion and demand the other side threw at us. They are brilliant. They know the law inside and out… The distance they traveled to court was never an issue.”

Other members of The Reserve Community Association, Jim and Wendy M., said, “Watching Jim, Jeff and the other Pender & Coward attorneys and support staff perform gave us the confidence that in the end we would prevail. AND WE DID! Every important issue was decided by the court in the community’s and homeowners’ favor… Jim was mindful of our financial limitations and did everything possible to minimize legal costs. Pender & Coward also worked with the association's insurance company to reimburse the bulk of our defense fees.”

Jim Lang, Jeff Wilson and the rest of the Waterfront Law Team were extremely pleased with the results in this case and were happy to help the homeowners secure a victory. We wish them many years of enjoying boating and their community pier.


Virginia Community Pier Laws

Virginia state law allows a collection of individual property owners to give up their individual pier rights in order to construct a community pier. The Reserve Community Association went through this process several years ago. The number of boat slips allowed on any given community pier is determined by the number of properties touching the water. In this case, there were 12 residents, but only five houses were touching the water. Based on state law the community was only allowed to build 9 boat slips. Do you have a community pier dispute? We can help!

About The Author

Bryan head shot

Bryan protects waterfront (riparian) property rights. His focus is Virginia aquaculture and maritime law, including the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act; the Virginia Primary Sand Dune and Beaches Act; and the Virginia Tidal Wetlands Act. Contact Bryan at (757) 490-6283 or bpeeples@pendercoward.com.