Skip to main content

11th Circuit Affirms Judgment For Stevedores


A $3.5 million jury verdict against Miami-Dade County and a declaration that a county ordinance regulating stevedores was unconstitutional were affirmed Friday morning by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. The decision means that Florida Transportation Service Inc., which complained it was unfairly denied a permit to operate at the Port of Miami in 2003, 2004 and 2005, will collect a total $4 million in damages from the county.

 "The permitting practices did not further, but if anything rather disserved, the county's purported purposes and benefits," said the opinion by U.S. Circuit Judge Frank Hull, Senior Judge Emmett Ripley Cox and U.S. District Judge Donald Walter of Louisiana sitting by designation.

 U.S. District Judge Adalberto Jordan (who now sits in the Eleventh Circuit) in Miami ruled in 2008 that the ordinance on stevedores interfered with interstate commerce. Jordan ruled the county ordinance guaranteed work for the nine existing stevedore companies but kept others out.
 
 
Judge Adalberto Jordan
Picture Obtained from Daily Business Review Dec. 28, 2012
 
The appellate court's 83-page opinion "demonstrates without question that Judge Jordan correctly analyzed the legal issues and that the county's conduct in protecting existing stevedores from outside competition violated the U.S. Constitution," said Coffey Burlington partner Jeffrey Crockett, who represented Florida Transportation.

Florida Transportation, a non-union company, first attempted to obtain a permit in 1999 and finally received one for 2011 after prevailing at the 2010 jury trial. A key piece of evidence at the 10-day trial was a letter from the Southeast Florida Employers Port Association to the port saying that giving a new company a permit would result in "destructive competition."

The Southeast Florida Employers Port Association represents nine unionized companies whose workers belong to the International Longshoremen's Association.

The appellate court's opinion is 83 pages long. It essentially agreed with Judge Jordan that the county's conduct in protecting existing stevedores from outside competition violated the U.S. Constitution. If you are interested in receiving a copy of the decision or wish to reach me, you may do so by email at mov@chaloslaw.com.
 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Maritime Law--U.S. Crewmember Required to Arbitrate Claims Applying Norwegian Law

In Alberts v. Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd., No. 15-14775 (11th Cir. Aug. 23, 2016), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit held that a U.S. citizen, working aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship is required to arbitrate his claims against Royal Caribbean.
Plaintiff, a United States citizen, worked as the lead trumpeter on a passenger Royal Caribbean cruise ship. The ship is a Bahamian flagged vessel with a home port in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Royal Caribbean, the operator of the vessel, is a Liberian corporation with its principal place of business in Florida. After plaintiff became ill while working for Royal Caribbean, he filed suit alleging unseaworthiness, negligence, negligence under the Jones Act, maintenance and cure, and seaman’s wages and penalties. Royal Caribbean moved to compel arbitration, and the district court granted the motion. This appeal presented an issue of first impression: Whether a seaman’s work in international waters on a cruise ship that calls o…

Maritime Law--Tour Boat Captain Implicated in Tragedy Off Nicaragua

As reported in the Daily Business Review on January 25, 2016, Nicaragua's police, army and navy will investigate the captain of a tourist boat and his assistant for the deaths of 13 Costa Rican passengers killed on January 23rd when the vessel capsized in bad weather. The Reina del Caribe, Spanish for "Caribbean Queen," was carrying 33 people when it went down Saturday amid rain and strong winds as it ferried between the Corn Islands, a popular tourist destination, off Nicaragua's Caribbean coast. The Daily Business Review article can be accessed here=> Daily Business Review article.

The government clarified on the 24th that the boat was carrying 25 Costa Ricans, two Americans, two British citizens, a Brazilian and three Nicaraguans. Previous reports had said there were 32 people on board, including four Americans. All the dead were Costa Ricans.

Nicaragua's naval commander for the southern Caribbean region said the boat's captain was detained because the …

Maritime Law--Lawsuits Filed Over RCCL's "Storm Cruise"

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd ("RCCL") faces lawsuits by passengers accusing the company of negligently endangering their lives by letting Anthem of the Seas sail into a February 7, 2016 storm.  One class action lawsuit filed in federal court in Miami specifically states that RCCL should be required to pay punitive damages to passengers on its ship for "knowingly sailing directly into" a strong winter storm with 120-mph winds. It is also alleged that people aboard the ship were "subjected to hours of sheer terror as the gigantic cruise ship was battered by hurricane-force winds and more than 30-foot waves."

The vessel reportedly encountered 100 mph winds and 30-foot waves, and RCCL said the storm was more severe than expected. RCCL later turned the ship around, and it returned to New Jersey on February 10. Anthem of the Seas’ port azipod reportedly burnt through “all four clutches” during the storm. RCCL reported four minor injuries among more than 6,000 p…