Riviera Beach floating structure battle has day in Supreme Court - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Riviera Beach floating structure battle has day in Supreme Court

RIVIERA BEACH, FL (WFLX) - The legal fight for a man's floating structure is heading to the Supreme Court Monday.

Fifty-year-old Fane Lozman has been in a legal battle with the city of Riviera Beach since 2009. That's when his floating structure was demolished by the city.

The big question Supreme Court Justices will have to decide on is whether Lozman's floating structure is a home or a vessel. It's a landmark case that could mean big changes for the boating community.

Lozman's claims just because it floats doesn't mean it's a boat. "I'm angry that the city of Riviera Beach destroyed all of my home and all of my furniture," said Lozman.

He's getting ready for his argument to be heard at the Supreme Court. "It's exciting that the Supreme Court is taking on this issue that we are all very familiar with and hearing about for years."

A federal judge ruled Lozman's floating home was a "vessel" and not a house. The definition of a vessel though is what Supreme Court Justices will have to rule on.

Appeals courts have issued conflicting decisions on the issue. "Different states around the country understand what a floating structure is. Their definition is that it's not a means of transportation; it's just an extension of the land."

The case is being watched closely around the country by people who live on the water and commercial businesses such as floating casinos.

Lozman believes the justices will side with his argument and not the city of Riviera Beach's stance. "The 11th circuit, which is Florida, Georgia and Alabama, is drifting away from what is a vessel and what is a floating structure."

Lozman says if he does win, he's going to move another houseboat back into a local marina.

The Riviera Beach city attorney told our news partners at the Palm Beach Post, she believes, the case will mainly be about settling the differences that were made in lower court rulings.

It's expected to take a few months before a decision is made.

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