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Vedder Thinking | News U.S. Supreme Court Amicus Brief Filed on Maritime Jurisdiction

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On July 24, 2012, Vedder Price filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of the Maritime Law Association of the United States (MLA). The brief urges the Court to clarify the definition of "vessel" in U.S. law. The definition of "vessel" underlies the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction of the federal courts and is integral to a wide range of vessel-related transactions and remedies, including preferred ship mortgages, maritime liens and various vessel arrest and foreclosure remedies. The Court granted a writ of certiorari in Lozman v. City of Riviera Beach, Florida, No. 11-626 to resolve a split in the Circuits on certain elements of the vessel definition.

The case, which was argued October 1, 2012, has attracted a great deal of interest from the maritime community and the banking, casino and equipment finance sectors. A decision from the Supreme Court is imminent.

The amicus brief was authored by Vedder Price Shareholders Frank Nolan and John Cleary with assistance from Associate Robert Gucwa and Summer Associates Raquel Manzanares and Justine Childers. Mr. Nolan, a member of the firm's Global Transportation Finance group, is also a member of the Board of Directors of the MLA and chairs the MLA's Marine Financing Committee. Mr. Cleary is a member of the Litigation group at Vedder Price.