Hancock County - BSL Harbor
The Mississippi Secretary of State, as Trustee of the Public Trust Tidelands claimed property owned by the Smith Phillips' clients as Public Trust Tidelands and leased it to the City of Bay St. Louis for construction of a Municipal Harbor. Prior to Katrina, the clients operated a well-known restaurant on the property with full use and access to their property extending to the waters edge of the Bay of St. Louis. The State contended that all property seaward of an old retaining wall on the property was belonged to the State of Mississippi as public trust tidelands. Smith Phillips attorneys filed an inverse condemnation suit in Hancock County Circuit Court against the state and city seeking just compensation for the taking of the property. A Hancock County Jury in Bay St. Louis returned a verdict in favor of the property owner against the State of Mississippi. The State appealed and the verdict was unanimously affirmed by the Mississippi Supreme Court. See 202 So.3d 1243 (Miss. 2016).