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American Waterways Operators, Inc. v. Askew

Citation: 2 ELR 20072
No. No. 71-156-Civ-J, 335 F. Supp. 1241/3 ERC 1429/(M.D. Fla., 12/10/1971)

A state statute that attempts to prevent the pollution of the state's territorial waters by the shipping industry violates Article III, Section 2 of the United States Constitution because that statute would change substantive maritime law. Both state statute and the federal Water Pollution Control Act, as amended in 1970, subject vessels and onshore and offshore facilities to strict liability for cleanup costs incurred as a result of spillage. But unlike the federal statute, the state statute does not limit liability to the value of the polluting ship or facility. Moreover, the state statute changes traditional maritime tort law by imposing liability for damages (as opposed to cleanup costs) without fault. The Florida statute is not severable because its few valid provisions are so interwoven in the purpose of the invalid provisions that, standing alone, they would not constitute a coherent legislative scheme.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Healy & Baillie
29 Broadway
New York, New York 10006

Haigt, Gardner, Poor & Havens
80 Broad Street
New York, New York 10004

Fowler, White, Gillen, Humky, Kinney & Boggs
Suite 1100, First Federal Building
220 Madison
Tampa, Florida 33601

Kurz, Toole, Taylor, Moseley & Gabel
Suite 1014, Barnett Bank Building
112 West Adams Street
Jacksonville, Florida 32202

Counsel for Defendant
Daniel S. Dearing Asst. Attorney General
State Capitol
Tallahassee, Florida 32303

Before Roney, Circuit Judge, and Scott and Tjoflat, District Judges.