Welcome!

News Feed Item

Vedder Price Issues Statement on U.S. Supreme Court Decision Regarding Maritime Jurisdiction

Lozman v. City of Riviera Beach, Fla. Ruling Raises New Questions and Leaves Others Unanswered

NEW YORK, Jan. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision today in the case of Fane Lozman v. The City of Riviera Beach, Fla. The court ruled 7-2 in favor of Fane Lozman, who argued that his floating home was not a vessel and therefore not subject to arrest under maritime law. The majority opinion authored by Justice Stephen Breyer concluded that not everything that floats is a "vessel" under federal maritime law, and that, from now on, a structure does not qualify as a vessel "unless a reasonable observer, looking to the [structure's] physical characteristics and activities, would consider it designed to a practical degree for carrying people or things over water."  The decision and its new articulation of the vessel-status test have far-reaching implications for not only those who own or reside in floating homes, but also for a range of industries dealing with maritime vessels and off-shore and near-shore floating structures, including the equipment finance, energy, insurance and marine supply industries.

Dissenting Justice Sonia Sotomayer, joined by Justice Anthony Kennedy, largely agreed with key elements of the majority decision, such as the Court's express rejection of an owner's subjective intent as relevant to the vessel status inquiry and the rejection by the majority of what it viewed as the "if it floats, it's a vessel" ruling of the court below.  The dissent took issue, however, with the majority's new "reasonable observer" test for vessel status, likening it to the largely discredited "I know it when I see it" test for obscenity espoused nearly fifty years ago by Justice Potter Stewart.

Vedder Price has a longstanding U.S. and international maritime practice and has been involved in this case for over a year.  Its shareholders Francis X. Nolan, III and John C. Cleary submitted an amicus curiae brief in the case on behalf of The Maritime Law Association of the United States. While not for attribution to any of the firm's clients, Vedder Price offers these observations and insights about today's decision. These thoughts are wholly our own and not for attribution to the MLA.

Mr. Nolan is a member of Vedder's Global Transportation Finance practice and is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Maritime Law Association and Chair of its Standing Committee on Marine Finance. Mr. Nolan stated, "By stating that a watercraft may pass in and out of 'vessel' status, today's decision left lingering questions, such as whether a permanently moored structure or vessel in layup remains a vessel for purposes of vessel documentation. This ambiguity has far-reaching implications for mortgage financing of ships and insurance of ships, as well as the status of the gaming industry's floating casinos and vessels in long term 'cold layup.' I would think this ruling would at least drive mortgage lenders to review and revise their loan covenants.  Also marina operators should be aware that if the 'reasonable observer' finds a floating structure not to be a vessel, the owner may enjoy special rights under local landlord and tenant law. The 'reasonable observer' standard is not the bright line we had hoped for."

John C. Cleary, Vedder Price Shareholder in the Litigation Practice Area, in response to the ruling stated: "The Court's new 'reasonable observer' test for vessel status draws upon past precedent and the facts presented in Lozman to provide practical guidance to the maritime community for future cases. It remains to be seen, however, whether the new test will achieve its intended objective of uniformity and clarity on this pivotal issue of maritime law and jurisdiction, or instead will give rise to threshold litigation of the meaning and application of the new vessel status test to particular facts."

Experts from Vedder Price are available to comment on the Supreme Court's decision and its implications.

About Vedder Price:

Vedder Price is a thriving general-practice law firm with a proud tradition of maintaining long-term relationships with its clients, many of whom have been with the firm since its founding in 1952. With approximately 275 attorneys and growing, Vedder Price serves clients of all sizes and in virtually all industries from offices in Chicago, New York, Washington, DC and London.

SOURCE Vedder Price

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
Cloud promises the agility required by today’s digital businesses. As organizations adopt cloud based infrastructures and services, their IT resources become increasingly dynamic and hybrid in nature. Managing these require modern IT operations and tools. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Raj Sundaram, Senior Principal Product Manager at CA Technologies, will discuss how to modernize your IT operations in order to proactively manage your hybrid cloud and IT environments. He will be sharing bes...
Everywhere we turn in our industry we can find strong opinions about the direction, type and nature of cloud’s impact on computing and business. Another word that is used in every context in our industry is “hybrid.” In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Alvaro Gonzalez, Director of Technical, Partner and Field Marketing at Peak 10, will use a combination of a few conceptual props and some research recently commissioned by Peak 10 to offer a real-world consideration of how the various categories of...
Five years ago development was seen as a dead-end career, now it’s anything but – with an explosion in mobile and IoT initiatives increasing the demand for skilled engineers. But apart from having a ready supply of great coders, what constitutes true ‘DevOps Royalty’? It’ll be the ability to craft resilient architectures, supportability, security everywhere across the software lifecycle. In his keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Jeffrey Scheaffer, GM and SVP, Continuous Delivery Busine...
Most DevOps journeys involve several phases of maturity. Research shows that the inflection point where organizations begin to see maximum value is when they implement tight integration deploying their code to their infrastructure. Success at this level is the last barrier to at-will deployment. Storage, for instance, is more capable than where we read and write data. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Josh Atwell, a Developer Advocate for NetApp, will discuss the role and value...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Outscale, a global pure play Infrastructure as a Service provider and strategic partner of Dassault Systèmes, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Founded in 2010, Outscale simplifies infrastructure complexities and boosts the business agility of its customers. Outscale delivers a secure, reliable and industrial strength solution for its customers, which in...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus intern...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CollabNet, a global leader in enterprise software development, release automation and DevOps solutions, will be a Bronze Sponsor of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, taking place from June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CollabNet offers a broad range of solutions with the mission of helping modern organizations deliver quality software at speed. The company’s latest innovation, the DevOps Lifecycle Manager (DLM), supports Value S...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
In order to meet the rapidly changing demands of today’s customers, companies are continually forced to redefine their business strategies in order to meet these needs, stay relevant and continue to see profitable growth. IoT deployment and development is integral in this transformation, and today businesses are increasingly seeing the value of investing their resources into IoT deployments. These technologies are able increase ROI through projects such as connecting supply chains or enabling sm...
Regardless of what business you’re in, it’s increasingly a software-driven business. Consumers’ rising expectations for connected digital and physical experiences are driving what some are calling the "Customer Experience Challenge.” In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Marco Morales, Director of Global Solutions at CollabNet, will discuss how organizations are increasingly adopting a discipline of Value Stream Mapping to ensure that the software they are producing is poised to o...
This talk centers around how to automate best practices in a multi-/hybrid-cloud world based on our work with customers like GE, Discovery Communications and Fannie Mae. Today’s enterprises are reaping the benefits of cloud computing, but also discovering many risks and challenges. In the age of DevOps and the decentralization of IT, it’s easy to over-provision resources, forget that instances are running, or unintentionally expose vulnerabilities.
In his opening keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Michael Maximilien, Research Scientist, Architect, and Engineer at IBM, will motivate why realizing the full potential of the cloud and social data requires artificial intelligence. By mixing Cloud Foundry and the rich set of Watson services, IBM's Bluemix is the best cloud operating system for enterprises today, providing rapid development and deployment of applications that can take advantage of the rich catalog of Watson services to help drive insigh...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in compute, storage and networking technologies, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology, is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo, June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY and October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.