HomeCircuit Court Admiralty CasesGovernment Regulation
Government Regulation

The following are digests and case links to Circuit Court Admiralty Cases that have as an issue government regulation:

United States v. San Juan Bay Marina
First Circuit Court of Appeals
February 21, 2001

Government Regulation: Pursuant to the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, 33 U.S.C. § 401, it has been the law for more than a century that no one may place obstructions into the navigable waters of the United States without authorization from the Army Corps of Engineers; the District Court thus correctly ordered defendants to remove piers and structures built on the navigable waters of the United States without the necessary permits. 

United States v. Angell
Second Circuit Court of Appeals
May 16, 2002

Government Regulation: Defendant violated the Rivers and Harbors Appropriation Act of 1899, 33 U.S.C. §§ 401 et seq., by adding two floats to his dock in the Silver Brook Canal in Flanders, New York, without a permit from the United States Army Corps of Engineers ("Army Corps"). Defendant's argument that the canal was not navigable at low tide and thus was not covered by the Act was to no avail since the Army Corps' jurisdiction "extends to the line on the shore reached by the plane of the mean (average) high water." 33 C.F.R. § 329.12(a)(2).

South Carolina State Ports Authority v. Federal Maritime Commission
Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals
March 12, 2001

Government Regulation: State sovereign immunity prevents a ship operator from bringing an administrative proceeding against the South Carolina State Ports Authority for alleged violations of the Shipping Act of 1984 as a result of the Authority's refusal to berth ships whose primary purpose is gambling.

Delta Commercial Fisheries v. Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
March 19, 2004

Government Regulation: The commercial fishermen's association's suit alleging that the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council does not include "fair and balanced" representation of commercial and recreational fishing interests as required by a provision of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, 16 U.S.C.A. §§ 1801-1883, was properly dismissed by the district court since the United States has not waived sovereign immunity from such a suit under the Act.

Air Liquide v. Corps of Engineers
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
January 30, 2004

Government Regulation: The Army Corps of Engineers properly exercised its navigational servitude over underwater pipelines covered by permits under the  Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, 33 U.S.C. § 401 et seq., requiring Owners to remove the pipelines at their expense as part of the project by the Corps and the Port of Houston Authority to widen and deepen the Houston Ship Channel.

Spector v. Norwegian Cruise Line
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
January 12, 2004

Government Regulation:  Plaintiffs, disabled cruise line passengers, allege that physical barriers on Norwegian Cruise Line ships denied them access to: (1) emergency evacuation equipment and emergency evacuation-related programs; (2) facilities such as public restrooms, restaurants, swimming pools, and elevators; and (3) cabins with a balcony or a window.  Pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12182 et. seq., plaintiffs sought injunctive relief requiring Owner to remove certain barriers that obstructed their access to the ships’ facilities.  The plaintiffs' barrier removal claims were dismissed since Congress, in enacting Title III of the ADA, failed to express any intention to subject foreign-flagged cruise ships to its dictates. Thus, application of Title III to foreign-flagged cruise ships is impermissible.

Trinity Marine v. OSHRC
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
December 5, 2001

Government Regulation: The Secretary of Labor's interpretation of OSHA regulation 29 C.F.R. § 1915.132(d) was unreasonable as applied to the Shipyard's electric cable repairs and the Shipyard did not have fair notice that its use of wood-framed plug-in boxes violated 29 C.F.R. § 1910.305(e), thus the penalties assessed against the Shipyard on those bases, and following an investigation after the electrocution death of an employee, must be set aside.

Den Norske Stats Oljeselskap v. Heeremac Vof et. al
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
February  5, 2001

International Law/Government Regulation: The plain language of the Foreign Trade Antitrust Improvements Act ("FTAIA") precludes subject matter jurisdiction over claims by foreign plaintiffs against defendants where the situs of the injury is overseas and that injury arises from effects in a non-domestic market, thus plaintiff Norwegian oil company's antitrust claim alleging that it paid inflated prices for heavy-lift barge services in the North Sea because of a territory splitting and price fixing conspiracy among the three worldwide operators of heavy-lift barges was properly dismissed.

Ocean Advocates v. Corps of Engineers
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
March 15, 2004

Government Regulation: The district court improperly granted summary judgment in favor of the Corps of Engineers on plaintiff environmental group's challenge to a permit issued to BP to build an addition to its existing oil refinery dock in Cherry Point, Washington. The Corps should have realized that uncertainty surrounded the potential for increased traffic based on the undetermined additional berthing capacity at the BP refinery, the magnitude of this change and its relationship to the increased risk of oil spills, and unknown, long-term projections for increased traffic and the risk of an oil spill. The Corps acted arbitrarily and capriciously in failing to gather this quantifiable data and in failing to take a "hard look" at the environmental impact of the dock extension. Further, if the modifications authorized by the permit increased the potential berthing capacity of the terminal for tankers carrying crude oil, it also violated the Magnuson Amendment to the Marine Mammal Protection Act, 33 U.S.C. § 476., which was an issue remanded to the district court.

United States v. Tucor International, Inc.
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
January 25, 2001

Government Regulation/Criminal Law: Defendants were engaged in the business of motor transportation within the Philippines and trucked the belongings of United States military from Subic Bay Naval Base and Clark Air Force Base to a Philippine seaport, where the belongings were loaded onto vessels bound for the United States. The United States Department of Justice was in error in prosecuting defendants for a conspiracy to fix prices for the ground transportation in the Philippines since they were immunized against antitrust liability by Section 7(a)(4) of the Shipping Act of 1984, 46 U.S.C. app.1706(a)(4). The Department's criminal prosecution of defendants, although based on an unreasonable reading of the law and "faulty judgment" in not informing the District Court of the Shipping Act's immunity provisions, was not "vexatious, frivolous, or in bad faith," thus defendants were not entitled to reimbursement of their attorneys fees and costs.

Stevens v. Premier Cruises, Inc.
Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals
March 1, 2002

Government Regulation: The motion for rehearing and request for an en banc hearing were denied, with the  Court reaffirming its June 22, 2000 decision that the district court erred in concluding that Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") does not as a matter of law apply to foreign-flag cruise ships sailing in United States waters.

United States v. Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co.
Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals
July 30, 2001

Government Regulation: The United States Government may claim for damages under the National Marine Sanctuaries Act ("NMSA") of 1972, 16 U.S.C. § 1431-1445, for property damage to the Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary caused by a grounded tugboat and dredge pipe.

Bunge Co. v. Freeport Marine Repair
Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals
January 30, 2001

Collisions/Casualties: Although Hull No. 40 was under construction when it broke from its moorings during a hurricane and damaged a grain-loading facility along the waterway, it was a vessel for purposes of admiralty tort jurisdiction and the Louisiana Rule, which stipulates that a moving vessel that strikes a stationary object is presumed to be at fault.  Admiralty Jurisdiction: Since the allision occurred in navigable waters due to the imperfect mooring of a nearly complete vessel, the incident bore a substantial relationship to traditional maritime activity and was properly within admiralty tort jurisdiction. Government Regulation: The grain-loading facility was not in violation of a 33 U.S.C. 403, which requires a permit for structures that partially obstruct a waterway, since the facility was grandfathered under government regulations and did not interfere with navigation. Thus the Pennsylvania Rule, which bars a plaintiff in violation of a federal statute from recovering damages unless that plaintiff can prove that its own violation could not have caused the loss, is not applicable.

Stevens v. Premier Cruises, Inc.
Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals
June 22, 2000

Government Regulation: The district court erred in concluding that Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") does not as a matter of law apply to foreign-flag cruise ships sailing in United States waters, thus the dismissal of Plaintiff's complaint under the ADA for failure to state a claim is reversed.

District No. 1, Pacific Coast v. Maritime Administration
District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals
June 16, 2000

Government Regulation:  Section 9 of the 1916 Shipping Act is not an unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority to the executive branch, thus the Maritime Administration's granting of applications to transfer the registry of eight vessels from the United States to the Republic of Marshall Islands pursuant to section 9 will not be disturbed.

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