LeBlanc v. Cleveland

198 F.3d 353, 2000 AMC 609 (1999)

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LeBlanc v. Cleveland

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
198 F.3d 353, 2000 AMC 609 (1999)

Facts

Etoile LeBlanc and Stephen Ossen (plaintiffs) were paddling a kayak in the Hudson River approximately 29 miles north of Fort Edward. The river at Fort Edward was navigable by vessels to the south to New York City and the Atlantic Ocean, and to the north through the Champlain Canal to the St. Lawrence River. However, above Fort Edward, and below the location where LeBlanc and Ossen were kayaking, numerous areas of rapids, waterfalls, and manmade dams prevented passage of any vessel to those navigable points. LeBlanc and Ossen were injured when their kayak was struck by a recreational boat operated by Terry Cleveland and owned by Robert Grant (defendants). LeBlanc and Ossen sued Cleveland and Grant in federal district court under admiralty jurisdiction. Cleveland and Grant brought a third-party complaint against JRD Retailers, Ltd. (defendant), the outfitter that had rented LeBlanc and Ossen the kayak. JRD moved to dismiss the complaints as lacking subject-matter jurisdiction. The district court granted the motion, finding that admiralty jurisdiction did not apply because the Hudson River was not navigable in the location where the accident occurred. LeBlanc and Ossen appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Parker, J.)

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