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New SCOTUScast: Lozman v. City of Riviera Beach, Florida

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by SCOTUScaster
Posted January 28, 2013, 4:55 PM

On January 15, 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, an associate professor at Florida Coastal School of Law.

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