Is It a Boat or is It a House?
On Tuesday of this week a decision came down from the U.S. Supreme Court that decided that this was a house not a boat. (no, I didn't mean Judge Judy's Court...I am talking about U.S. Supreme Court.)
|Don't let the water fool you..it's a house.|
In 2006, after Hurricane Wilma destroyed the marina where Fane Lozman had his houseboat moored, he decided to move it to to a marina in Riviera Beach about 80 miles north of Miami. After moving to the new marina, Lozman found himself at odds with the city. Riviera Beach tried to evict him and other houseboat owners to make way for a $2.4 million dollar luxury development.
As a result of his efforts, the development plans fell apart but the city contended that Fane owed them docking fees and they charged that his dachshund was a public nuisance. Fane contended that the city was seeking retribution. Seriously...you can't call a man's dog a nuisance and not expect a fight...so Fane took the city to court.
This is where things start getting interesting. Fane won an early victory when the first jury said the city couldn't evict him. They also, said the city had to keep the marina public
In 2008, the city came up with another plan for the luxury development and again Lozman fought against this. The city, however, went to court to have the houseboat declared a vessel. By having it declared a boat it would be subject to maritime rules. The court agreed. This gave the city the right to seize the "now boat" for unpaid dock fees. Riviera Beach seized the boat and put it up for auction.
Lozman appealed to the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Represented by Stanford Law School Supreme Court Clinic, Lozman contended that the city had no right to destroy his house for back dock fees under maritime rules because his house wasn't a boat.
In a 7-2 decision the highest court in the U.S. said this:
"To state the obvious, a wooden washtub, a plastic dishpan, a swimming platform on pontoons, ....or Pinocchio (when inside the whale), none of these are vessels" noted Justice Stephen Breyer. "They are 'artificial contrivances' capable of floating, moving under tow, and incidentally carrying even a fair-sized item or two when they do so. Still, none of these is a vessel under federal maritime law because none is "used as a means of transportation."
That seals the deal, after several lower court cases... there is a definitive decision....wooden washtubs, plastic dishpans and swimming platforms just took a major hit. No more considering themselves a boat. As for little boy puppets...you might just want to appeal.
The Dog Did It
Yet, another odd story out of Florida this week. James Campbell and Iris Fortner were coming home to their house in Cantonment when James got out of the car to open a metal gate outside their property.
There was no additional details as to if the dog was being charged with vehicular manslaughter or even reckless driving. Still one must say "Bad Doggy!"
He Really....Really Loves His Couch
A Wisconsin man charged with having curbside sex with a couch (yes, the couch...not someone on a couch...the couch) is negotiating for a plea bargain. He is hoping to have prosecutors charge him with misdemeanor charges.
Off-duty police officer, Ryan Edwards was out for a job when he noticed a man on a abandoned couch sitting on a curb. The man appeared to be having sex. Officer Edwards assumed there was a 2nd person out of his line of sight but as he approached he realized that Streator was using the sofa cushions as his love interest. (seriously...EWWWWW)
The couch is not pressing charges. It's a proud moment is one's life when you try to negotiate your sexual exploits down to a misdemeanor.