Darling v. City of Newport News,
249 U.S. 540 (1919)

Annotate this Case
  • Syllabus  | 
  • Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Darling v. City of Newport News, 249 U.S. 540 (1919)

Darling v. City of Newport News

No. 600

Argued April 15, 1919

Decided April 28, 1919

249 U.S. 540


Generally speaking, private rights in land under tidal waters are subject to the right of the state to use such waters as a depository for sewage. P. 249 U. S. 542.

Plaintiff held oyster beds in the tidal waters of Hampton Roads by leases from the Virginia, under whose laws, as long as he paid rent, he was declared to have the "exclusive right to occupy" the land for twenty years, subject to any rights of other persons previously acquired, with the state's guaranty of an "absolute right" to continue to use and occupy it for that period.

Held that the grant, construed strictly, with reference to the public necessity in that vicinity and previous pollution of the water, was subject to the right of the state to authorize the City of Newport News to discharge its sewage into the Roads, and that the consequent pollution of the plaintiff's oysters was neither (1) a taking of his property without due process, nor (2) an impairment of his contract rights, nor (3) (following the state court) a damage in the sense of the Virginia Constitution, which requires compensation for property taken or damaged for public use. P. 249 U. S. 543.

123 Va. 14 affirmed.

The case is stated in the opinion.

Page 249 U. S. 541

Disclaimer: Official Supreme Court case law is only found in the print version of the United States Reports. Justia case law is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect current legal developments, verdicts or settlements. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site or information linked to from this site. Please check official sources.