Fane Lozman

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Fane Lozman is an American inventor and futures and options trader who has been described as a "persistent gadfly"[1] and "relentless opponent of public corruption".[2] Lozman has won two cases before the Supreme Court of the United States, based on disputes with the City of Riviera Beach. In addition, his investigative efforts have resulted in the arrests of corrupt government officials in North Bay Village, Florida.[3]

Early life, education, and career[edit]

Born in Miami, Florida, Lozman received a B.A. in mathematics from the University of Miami. He then joined the United States Marine Corps,[4][5] where he served a tour of duty as a Marine attack pilot.[4][6][7]

After returning to civilian life, Lozman moved to Chicago and invented a new market trading screen interface, which he named Scanshift.[8] The interface was "modeled on the cockpit displays of the planes he used to fly",[8] along with the technology that is used to land fighter planes on aircraft carriers. Scanshift employs a visually ergonomic layout incorporating a hub and spoke display that uses "a variety of rectangles, lines, and arrows to indicate which kinds of securities were moving and what that movement signaled".[6]

Lozman filed a patent application for his Scanshift interface in 1994, and the patent was issued on November 18, 1997.[9][8] Lozman formed a small brokerage firm called Terra Nova, that became the foundation for the Terra Nova ECN, later to be renamed Archipelago ECN.[8] After several years of futures trading and options trading, he became a "self-made millionaire".[5]

Lozman is currently turning his focus to real estate development. His latest project, Renegade, is an overwater stilt home community on 25 acres parcel of submerged lands. This property, that includes 1025 feet of private beach, is located on the northwest side of Singer Island Florida, adjacent to the intracoastal waterway.[10][11]

Legal battles[edit]

North Bay Village[edit]

In 2002, Lozman moved back to South Florida to escape the Chicago winters.[12] He purchased a 60-foot by 12-foot two-story floating home,[13] and had it towed from Fort Myers, Florida to North Bay Village, Florida, in northern Miami-Dade County.[14][12] After mooring his residence in a North Bay Village marina, Lozman became embroiled in a dispute with the marina landlord over a proposed wheelchair ramp for a disabled World War II veteran, for which Lozman offered to pay.[12] The landlord evicted Lozman, who then began researching the landlord's business activities, discovering an illegal connection to a Village elected official.[12] While calling out this corrupt behavior, Lozman was kicked out of public meetings on several occasions, and was arrested on two occasions for publicly accusing officials of corruption.[4] The state attorney declined prosecution in both instances. Lozman's efforts ultimately led to the arrest of the mayor and three city commissioners and their subsequent removal from office.[4][12]

Riviera Beach[edit]

Lozman remained in North Bay Village until the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, when the marina where his floating home was moored was destroyed by Hurricane Wilma.[4] Lozman than had his home towed about 70 miles north, to the City of Riviera Beach.

The day Lozman arrived at the City marina with his floating home, Lozman learned that the City planned to redevelop its waterfront, by using the power of eminent domain. The City intended to take 2,200 homes and adjacent businesses, along with the City marina, for a $2.4 billion redevelopment plan, and then transfer these properties to a private developer.[15] Lozman became an outspoken critic of the plan, accusing the Council members of corruption in public meetings.[4][13].[4][13] Before the City could finalize its agreement with the developers, the Florida Legislature passed a bill prohibiting the use of eminent domain for private purposes. But the day before the Governor signed the bill into law, the City convened a meeting to approve its agreement with the developer.[2] In response, Lozman filed a lawsuit alleging that the agreement was invalid as violative of the Florida Government in the Sunshine law. After Lozman filed his lawsuit, members of the City Council came under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.[16]

Shortly after Lozman filed his lawsuit, on June 28, 2006, the City Council held a closed-door meeting to discuss Lozman's lawsuit. The Council members were in agreement that Lozman should be "intimidated" and made to feel "unwarranted heat".[16][5] The City undertook a series of actions against Lozman, which began with legal actions to evict Lozman and his floating home from the City marina. During the eviction trial, the City argued that Lozman's ten pound dachshund, "Lady", might bite someone. After a three-day jury trial, with Lozman representing himself pro se, the jury ruled in Lozman's favor, finding that the eviction was retaliatory.

The City Council met in regular session on November 15, 2006, at which time the City abandoned its plans to redevelop the waterfront.[17] During a time for members of the public to make comments to the council, Lozman began to raise the subject of corruption charges brought against officials in nearby Palm Beach County, Florida, in which Riviera Beach is a municipality.[5][18] A council member interrupted Lozman and instructed him to stop speaking. When Lozman refused, the council member ordered a police officer to "carry him out"; Lozman was then handcuffed and placed in a jail cell at the police station,[3] and charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest without violence. The State's attorney found probable cause for the arrest, but dismissed the charges as having "no reasonable likelihood of successful prosecution."

Lozman's first case before the United States Supreme Court (2013)[edit]

After failing to evict Lozman from the Riviera Beach marina under state landlord-tenant law, the City brought a lawsuit under federal admiralty law against Lozman's floating home in 2009.[13] Lozman, acting pro se, asked the federal district court to dismiss the suit on the ground that the court lacked admiralty jurisdiction. The court improperly found that the floating home was a "vessel" and concluded that admiralty jurisdiction was proper. The judge awarded the City $3,039.88 for dockage along with $1 in nominal damages for trespass.[13] The City, after first seizing Lozman’s floating home and having it towed to Miami, later purchased Lozman's floating home at a U.S. Marshal auction had it destroyed at taxpayer expense.[3] The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the lower court and Lozman filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the United States Supreme Court.[13]

Lozman gained his first Supreme Court victory, when the Court reversed the Eleventh Circuit in a landmark admiralty opinion, ruling that floating structures are not subject to federal jurisdiction. Writing for the 7-2 majority, Justice Stephen G. Breyer stated: "Not every floating structure is a 'vessel.’ To state the obvious, a wooden washtub, a plastic dishpan, a swimming platform on pontoons, a large fishing net, a door taken off its hinges, or Pinocchio (when inside the whale) are not 'vessels,' even if they are 'artificial contrivances' capable of floating, moving under tow, and incidentally carrying even a fair-sized item or two when they do so".[19][13][4] Chief Justice John Roberts stated in a later interview that the Lozman case was his favorite case of the term.[20][21] A federal judge later awarded Lozman only $7,500 for his damages.[4] In 2016, Lozman returned to Riviera Beach with a new, larger floating house, bearing a banner that read "Fane Lozman returns, THANK YOU... U.S. Supreme Court".[22]

Lozman's second case before the United States Supreme Court (2018)[edit]

In 2008, Lozman filed a First Amendment retaliation lawsuit, claiming his 2006 arrest for refusing to leave the podium at a City Council meeting and the City's effort to evict him from the City marina were part of an unconstitutional effort to stop him from criticizing the City and its policies.[4]

The case finally went to trial in November 2014, with Lozman representing himself once again on a pro se basis. The district judge instructed the jury that Lozman needed to prove a new charge that was only added for the first time during the second week of trial, that there was no probable cause for the offense of "disturbing a public assembly". The jury found for the City, and Lozman appealed. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed, and Lozman again successfully filed a petition for a writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court. During oral argument, Chief Justice Roberts stated: "I found the video pretty chilling. I mean, the fellow is up there for about fifteen seconds, and the next thing he knows he's being led off in handcuffs, speaking in a very calm voice the whole time".[3][5]

On June 18, 2018, in an eight-to-one opinion authored by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, the Supreme Court once again ruled in Lozman’s favor, vacating the Eleventh Circuit opinion and remanding to the appellate court with instructions to determine whether the City acted with animus in Lozman’s arrest.[23] As of July 2018, Lozman had offered to settle the matter for "$650,000, an apology and an invitation to address the city council".[24]

Awards[edit]

Lozman received the 2017 Pete Weitzel/Friend of the First Amendment Foundation, for his contributions to the cause of furthering open government.[25] Lozman is also a four-time winner of the New Times, Best of Broward/Palm Beach.[26][27][28][29]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Liptak, Adam (June 18, 2018). "A Persistent Gadfly Wins Again in the Supreme Court". The New York Times.
  2. ^ a b Barnes, Robert (February 25, 2018). "A Florida provocateur has his day before the U.S. Supreme Court—again". The Washington Post.
  3. ^ a b c d "Fane Lozman Goes to the Supreme Court, Again". The New Yorker.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Lozman faces Riviera Beach in U.S. Supreme Court for rare second time". The Palm Beach Post.
  5. ^ a b c d e "U.S. Supreme Court chief justice calls Fane Lozman's arrest 'chilling'". The Palm Beach Post.
  6. ^ a b ID: Magazine of International Design, Volume 54, Issues 1-4, p. 87.
  7. ^ "That's The Ticker". Bloomberg.
  8. ^ a b c d Gary Wolf, Joey Anuff, Dumb Money: Adventures of a Day Trader (2000), p. 86-87.
  9. ^ United States Patent 5,689,651.
  10. ^ Keegan, Charlie (December 7, 2016). "Developer receives addresses for property he plans to turn into floating community". WPTV Channel 5, West Palm Beach.
  11. ^ Kleinberg, Eliot (November 14, 2016). "Judge gives Riviera Beach five days to assign Fane Lozman addresses". The Palm Beach Post.
  12. ^ a b c d e "Crusader Upends Tiny South Florida Town". The Orlando Sentinel.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g Justice Stephen Breyer, Lozman v. City of Riviera Beach, 568 U.S. 115 (2013).
  14. ^ David R. Maass, "If it Looks Like a Vessel: the Supreme Court's "Reasonable Observer" Test for Vessel Status", Florida Law Review, Volume 65, Issue 3 (2013), p. 896.
  15. ^ Garvin, Glenn (January 13, 2018). "He's a Marine, a renegade, a vanquisher of corrupt pols. And now: First Amendment icon". The Miami Herald.
  16. ^ a b Norman, Bob (December 13, 2007). "Targeting Citizen Lozman". New Times Broward-Palm Beach. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  17. ^ Cooper, William (November 17, 2006). "Fears fail to ease over loss of land". The Palm Beach Post.
  18. ^ Totenberg, Nina (February 27, 2018). "The Curious Case Of A Florida Man Who Called Politicians Corrupt, Got Thrown In Jail". NPR. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  19. ^ Barnes, Robert (January 15, 2013). "Floating home is not vessel, Supreme Court says". The Washington Post.
  20. ^ "Everyday heroes etched in Supreme Court history". USA Today.
  21. ^ "Fourth Judicial Conference, Justice John Roberts talks about the Lozman case". C-SPAN. August 19, 2013.
  22. ^ "First the city sank his house. Now, he's at the Supreme Court over free speech case". The Miami Herald.
  23. ^ "U.S. Supreme Court hands Fane Lozman second win against Riviera Beach". The Palm Beach Post.
  24. ^ "Fane Lozman to Riviera Beach: Ending lawsuit will cost $650K, apology". The Palm Beach Post.
  25. ^ The First Amendment Foundation Announces Winners of its 2017 Sunshine Awards (January 2, 2018),
  26. ^ "Best Gadfly". New Times Broward-Palm Beach. 2013.
  27. ^ "Best Lawsuit". New Times Broward-Palm Beach. 2012.
  28. ^ "Personal Best". New Times Broward-Palm Beach. 2007.
  29. ^ "Best Political Activist". New Times Broward-Palm Beach. 2007.