Justia Admiralty & Maritime Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
by
Commercial-fishing associations challenged the creation of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, which was established by President Obama to protect distinct geological features and unique ecological resources in the northern Atlantic Ocean. The district court concluded that the President acted within his statutory authority in creating the Monument, dismissing the Fishermen's claims. The DC Circuit first drew a distinction between two types of claims: those justiciable on the face of the proclamation and those requiring factual development. The court determined that the Fishermens' first three claims could be judged on the face of the proclamation and resolved as a matter of law, and the last claim required factual allegations. As to the first three claims, the court held that Supreme Court precedent foreclosed the Fishermens' contention that the Antiquities Act does not reach submerged lands; ocean-based monuments are compatible with the Sanctuaries Act; and the federal government's unrivaled authority under both international and domestic law established that it controls the United States Exclusive Economic Zone. Finally, the court held that the Fishermens' smallest-area claim failed, because the complaint contained no factual allegations identifying a portion of the Monument that lacks the natural resources and ecosystems the President sought to protect. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's judgment. View "Massachusetts Lobstermen's Association v. Ross" on Justia Law

by
The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in an action brought under 33 U.S.C. 1904(h). In section 1904(h), Congress gave a ship unreasonably detained or delayed, on suspicion of intentionally discharging oil and other contaminants into the sea, a cause of action to recover any loss or damage suffered thereby. The court held that the Coast Guard acted reasonably in detaining a vessel for nearly six months pending a criminal trial after its owner and operator failed to meet the government's security bond demands. The court measured the reasonableness of the Coast Guard's actions by an objective standard and found that the Coast Guard set a reasonable monetary bond, and that the nonmonetary components of the bond demand contributed nothing to the owner's losses. View "Angelex, Ltd. v. United States" on Justia Law

by
The DC Circuit dismissed Matson's petition for review of three of the Maritime Administration's orders approving APL's requested replacement vessels in the Maritime Security Fleet. At issue was whether the three orders were issued pursuant to 46 U.S.C. 50501 or any other statute listed in the Hobbs Act vesting exclusive jurisdiction in the courts of appeals. The court held that Matson failed to file a timely petition for review; even if MARAD forfeited a timeliness defense, Matson had no vessels in the fleet and was therefore not a contractor for whom MARAD's regulation provided an administrative appeal; and the 2016 and 2017 Approval Orders did not trigger Hobbs Act jurisdiction. View "Matson Navigation Company, Inc. v. DOT" on Justia Law