Is Lozman Dead In the Water?

The Supreme Court of the United States called for new letter briefs in the Lozman case.  The issue in Lozman is “[w]hether a floating structure that is indefinitely moored, receives power and other utilities from shore, and is not intended to be used in maritime transportation or commerce constitutes a ‘vessel’ under 1 U.S.C. Sec. 3, thus triggering federal maritime jurisdiction.”  The reason Lozman might be moot is because the floating structure at issue in the claim has now been destroyed.  As reported by Lyle Denniston on SCOTUSBlog.com, a Florida city purchased and then destroyed the houseboat.  Accordingly, the Court wants the parties to answer whether there is a real controversy continuing in the claim.  A copy of the Court’s Order can be found here.  It poses the following question: “The res in this putative in rem admiralty proceeding was sold at a judicial auction in execution of the district court’s judgment on a maritime lien and a maritime trespass claim . . . and subsequently destroyed.  Does either the judicial auction or the subsequent destruction of the res render this case moot?”

Jon Robinson
As a Member at Mouledoux, Bland, Legrand & Brackett, Jon Robinson focuses his practice on the representation of employers and carriers in matters arising under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, the Defense Base Act, and the War Hazards Compensation Act. He can be contacted at (504) 595-3000 or by e-mail at jrobinson@mblb.com. Follow Jon on Twitter: @MrJonRobinson
Jon Robinson