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Waterfront Law

Pender & Coward's waterfront law attorneys protect Virginians who live work and play on the water. The waterfront law team has years of experience helping clients with a wide range of issues involving everything from wetlands to river, lake, bay and ocean waters.  Jim Lang leads the firm's waterfront law group and established a website that is devoted to waterfront law and riparian property rights articles and resources, click here to view this waterfront law resource.

Representative Cases and Transactions
  • Represented a family owned business that owns a 7 acre parcel (value $6M) in Norfolk, on the Elizabeth River, where a neighbor clogged the waterway with a Floating Junkyard consisting of 26 ships. Prosecuted a citizen’s environmental lawsuit in federal court that forced the neighbor to remove the Floating Junkyard from the river which removed all interference with client’s riparian property rights.

  • Designed and then persuaded Virginia Beach City Council to adopt a plan that enabled oceanfront property owners in Sandbridge, Virginia to remove beach sand that inundated their homes, free of prosecution by the Wetlands Board, and consistent with requirements of the Virginia Coastal Primary Dunes and Beaches Act.

  • Represented riparian property owners in disputes ranging from easements to trespass to the construction of private piers.

  • Handled salvage proceedings involving the RMS TITANIC, the ship that went down after hitting an iceberg in 1912 on its maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York, New York.

  • Participated in oyster lease permit hearings at the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC), including representing riparian property owners protesting the installation of an industrial-sized floating oyster aquaculture farm near their property.

  • Helped a commercial client resolve an environmental enforcement action brought by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality after the inadvertent release of 1,700 gallons of toxic chemicals into the Bay during a construction project, in violation of the Virginia State Water Control Law.

  • Assisted property owners in complying with the wetlands provision of the Clean Water Act.

  • Represented several commercial fishing fleet owners defending Jones Act claims for personal injuries brought by vessel crew members.

  • Handled multiple suits involving vessel allisions with marine terminals and bridges, including representation of a bridge owner after a tugboat allided with the Coleman Bridge causing extensive damage to the bridge and a million dollar plus recovery for our client.

  • Successfully prosecuted 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.

  • Handled contract negotiations for shipyards, including a long-haul towage contract for a large dry dock traversing the Mississippi River, Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic Ocean off the eastern seaboard.

  • See our team's work in specific Virginia waterways by clicking here.