Groups Say that S.C. Cruise Case Should be Heard by Lower Courts

Groups Say that S.C. Cruise Case Should be Heard by Lower Courts



The plaintiffs in the lawsuit against Carnival Cruise Lines and the expanding cruise industry of South Carolina said that local courts should hear the case first before it is elevated to the state Supreme Court.

The high court received a pleading Monday from the plaintiffs saying that the case is essentially a local zoning and environmental case and there are “no central legal question of statewide applicability is present.” It also said there are “no extraordinary circumstances” to give reason for the justices’ taking immediate jurisdiction.

Earlier this year, environmental groups and residents filed a lawsuit against Carnival alleging that the company’s vessel docking in this historic location are a public nuisance, is tantamount to unlawful hotel operations and their signature red, white and blue smokestacks violate the city’s sign ordinances.

The lawsuit was filed in state court by residents of Charleston, the Preservation Society of Charleston and the Coastal Conservation League.

The city and the S.C. State Ports Authority were later allowed to intervene in the case on the side of the cruise line. The defendants then filed a request with the Supreme Court to take jurisdiction of the case, on the basis that it threatens the maritime commerce of the state, thereby making it a matter of statewide public interest.

The response to that request, which was filed this week, said that the complaint only applies to Carnival and that other maritime operations are not intruding upon the quality of life in their historic and quiet neighborhood.

It said, “This matter is similar to zoning and nuisance cases held in South Carolina trial courts every year.”