Lozman v. City of Riviera Beach, Florida - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 1-18-13 featuring Rod Sullivan
Featuring Rod Sullivan
January 18, 2013

On January 15, 2013, the Supreme Court announced its decision in Lozman v. City of Riviera Beach, Florida. The case considers whether a floating home that was unable to navigate and indefinitely attached to a dock constituted a “vessel” for purposes of federal maritime law.  Although the City had obtained a court order requiring the sale of the home (due to non-payment of bills for city services) and then purchased it at the subsequent auction, the disposition of a bond the City posted in the course of the litigation remained in question.

In an opinion delivered by Justice Breyer, the Court held by a vote of 7-2 that such a floating structure does not constitute a ‘vessel’ because a reasonable observer would not conclude it was such, and thus does not fall within the scope of federal maritime law.  Justice Sotomayor filed a dissenting opinion, which was joined by Justice Kennedy.

To discuss the case, we have Rod Sullivan, who is an Associate Professor at Florida Coastal School of Law.

[Return to the SCOTUScast menu]