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, 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?”