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Web Alert: US Supreme Court’s decision in Lozman does not affect club’s members

07 February 2013

On January 15, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Lozman v. The City of Riviera Beach, held that a floating home was not a “vessel.”

As a result, the floating home was not subject to pre-judgment arrest by a creditor under the unique US maritime law procedures which allow creditors to arrest a “vessel” to obtain security for the creditor’s claims.

In reaching this decision, the Court adopted a “reasonable observer” test,” namely, an object is not a vessel “unless a reasonable observer ... would consider it designed to a practical degree for carrying people or things over water.”

Despite the amount of commentary and bulletins the decision has unleashed, it will not affect the club’s members who own/operate vessels flagged by states and regulated as vessels.

For the club’s members, there is no question that ships entered in the club are “vessels” and subject to arrest by creditors, just as such ships have always been subject to arrest.  

If a member has any doubt about the “vessel status” of a particular piece of equipment under US law, the member should contact LeRoy Lambert.