Va. Marine Res. Comm’n v. Chincoteague InnAnnotate this Case
The Chincoteague Inn constructed a floating platform secured alongside its building to be used as part of the Inn’s restaurant. The platform was situated partially over state-owned submerged lands. In an enforcement action, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission directed removal of a portion of the platform. The circuit court set aside the Commission’s decision and dismissed with prejudice the Commission’s enforcement action, finding that the Commission lacked jurisdiction to require removal of the floating platform. A panel of the court of appeals reversed, holding that under the facts of this case, federal maritime law did not preempt the Commission’s authority to order the removal of the floating platform over state-owned submerged lands. The court of appeals then granted the Inn’s petition for a rehearing en banc, vacated the panel opinion, and affirmed the circuit court’s determination that the Commission lacked jurisdiction over the floating platform. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the court of appeals erred in interpreting the scope of the Commission’s authority under Va. Code Ann. 28.2-1203(A); and (2) because the court of appeals’ en banc opinion did not address the issue of federal preemption, that issue remained outstanding. Remanded.