Lozman v. The City of Riviera Beach

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One of the most significant cases in maritime law the last few years is the Fane Lozman v. The City of Riviera Beach, Florida. This case went all the way to the United States Supreme Court and brought forth the issue of what is a vessel and what is not. Mr. Lozman owned a floating home which he brought to a marina owned by the city of Riviera beach. After being pursued by the city for not complying with paying docking fees, the city took a federal admiralty lawsuit against him. The City looked for compensation for their docking fee's and for damages for trespass. The court ruled in favor of the city and made Mr. Lozman pay the fees. Unhappy with this decision, he then filed a complaint to the District Court of Southern Florida (Lozman).
The District court then rejected his claim for lack of admiralty jurisdiction and found the home was considered a vessel under the Rules of Construction Act: 1 U.S.C. §3. 1 U.S.C. §3 states the word "vessel" includes every description of watercraft or other artificial contrivance used, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on water (Fisher). He was charged with $3,039.88 for dockage and a $1 fee in nominal damages for trespass. The District Court ordered the floating home be sold. The City bought the home at a public auction and had it destroyed (Fisher). A dissatisfied Lozman pursued Supreme Court action and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed and granted certiorari. This case is significant because there are so many floating structures on the water today and there was never a legal determination by the Supreme Court, which would establish the overriding law of the land, of what is a vessel and what is not. This comes in to play with taxes, insurance and ...

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...t made the definition a little less vague and will hopefully help lower courts in their decisions. Not to mention it will possibly impact boat owners and those who own structures on water.

Works Cited
De La Rose v. St Charles Gaming Co. 474 F.3d 185. United States Court of Appeals For The Fifth Circuit 2006. LexisNexis Academic. Web. 2013
Fisher, Jeffery L., Petitoner. "Lozman v. The City of Riviera Beach." Google Scholar. United States Supreme Court, n.d. Web. 2013
Lozman v. The City of Riviera Beach. 133 S.Ct. 735. Supreme Court of The United States 2013. LexisNexis Academic. Web. 2013
Stewart v. Dutra. 543 U.S. 481. Supreme Court of The United States 2005. LexisNexis Academic. Web. 2013
The Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA). Compliance Assistance By Law - The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). N.p., n.d. Web. 2013.

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