Hix v. Robertson is a case pending before the Waco Court of
Appeals concerning navigable rivers. Hix and Robertson are adjoining
landowners. Hog Creek flows from Robertson's land onto Hix's. A dam
on Hix's land backs up a small lake, a portion of which extends onto Robertson's land. Robertson tried
to fish from a boat in the part of the lake over Hix's land and Hix ran Robertson off.
A lawsuit followed. Robertson won in the trial court, and
Hix appealed. The Waco Court of Appeals asked for amicus briefs to help decide the case.
Amicus briefs are those filed by nonparties who nevertheless
have a stake in the issues presented in the case. At the request and on
behalf of the Texas Rivers Protection Association, Joe Riddell of Austin and Ken
Bennight of the Rivermen prepared and filed an amicus brief that you can read
through the link above.
Hix argues several points that, if upheld, would be harmful to
the interests of Texas paddlers. One such argument is that a citizen run
off a stream is not entitled to sue to obtain access, that is, that citizens
lack standing to sue. Hix argues that only the Texas Attorney General can
assert navigability of a stream. Hix also argues that, even if the water
would otherwise be navigable, a mistake by the surveyor who first described the
land in the 1800s prevents the public from now navigating the stream. The
linked brief addresses these and other misconceptions of the law.
The table below shows what has happened in the case to date
(August 31, 2006):