Riparian Rights - Elizabeth River: Virginia Waterfront Property Law

Elizabeth River Arial Shot

US Army Corps of Engineers
Draft Integrated City of Norfolk Coastal Storm Risk Management Feasibility Study / Environmental Impact Statement (Figure 10-36)

Legal Services for Elizabeth River Waterfront Property Owners in Virginia

Although only 6 miles long, the Elizabeth River is one of the most important waterways in the world. Located at the southern end of the Chesapeake Bay, it lies between the port cities of Portsmouth and Norfolk and forms the core of the Hampton Roads Harbor. It is also a gateway to the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, which runs up and down the east coast from Boston to the southern tip of Florida. The Elizabeth River is badly damaged from centuries of industrial pollution and stormwater runoff. The health of the river is improving due, in significant part, to the work of The Elizabeth River Project. Our teams’ extensive knowledge of waterfront (riparian) property rights law, maritime and admiralty law, and environmental law has helped clients all across Virginia.


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Examples Of Successful Legal Cases Defending Elizabeth River Property Owners

Commercial Property and the Virginia Tidal Wetlands Act

Assisted a waterfront commercial property owner in complying with the Virginia Tidal Wetlands Act, which governs coastal areas between mean low water and mean high water, after he received a Notice of Violation issued by the City of Norfolk.

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Blocked Installation Of A Large Mooring Facility

Appeared before the Virginia Marine Resources Commission in a successful effort to block installation of a large mooring facility that would have devalued our client's riparian property rights.

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Personal Injuries And Cargo Damage

Numerous litigation actions representing marine terminals and shipyards in personal injuries to longshoremen and harbor workers, and cargo damage actions.

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Defending State Workers

Defense of multiple federal and state workers compensation claims brought against marine terminals, intermodal operators, and marine construction companies.

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Vessel Allusions

Multiple suits involving vessel allusions with marine terminals and bridges.

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Jones Act

Defense of Jones Act claim brought by crew member after vessel sank in the river.

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Wake Damage Claim

Successful prosecution of a wake damage claim after a USCG Cutter generated a large wake causing property damage on a derrick barge that was in the midst of a heavy lift.

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Floating Junkyard

Commercial property disputes, such as filing a citizen's environmental lawsuit in Federal Court under the federal Clean Water Act to force the removal of a “floating junkyard” of hulking vessels which were blocking access to a client’s waterfront business.

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Private Pier Construction

Advocating for the rights of property owners to construct private piers at their residence.

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Environmental Clean-up

For example, in 2016, Jim led a team of over 50 “Restore the Shore” volunteers from the Virginia law firm Pender & Coward, P.C. the Elizabeth River Project, the City of Norfolk, and the Boy Scouts in a successful effort to bring a battered section of shoreline of the Elizabeth River back to life.

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We Protect Your Waterfront Property, Maritime, and Environmental Rights

These represent just a few of the many instances in which Jim and his team have assisted clients on or near Virginia’s waterways. If you have a legal issue pertaining to any Virginia waterway, call Jim Lang and his team at (757) 502-7326 or email him at:


Waterfront & Riparian Rights Law Experience With Virginia Waterway

We work in one of the longest and most diverse coastlines in the world - 7,213 miles – over three times the distance between Virginia Beach and San Diego. Virginia is also home to numerous rivers and tributaries, and a great variety of wetlands. These waterways include:

Although no two cases are alike, click on the links above to see examples of our work helping Virginians in the waterways of Virginia. We’re standing by and ready to help navigate your unique situation - Schedule Your Consultation.


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Phone: (757) 502-7326.


Maritime Emergency?

Call or text Tom Berkley 24 hours a day

Phone: (757) 572-2657