Is Standing a Fantasy, or not?

Posted on January 30, 2014 by Thomas Lavender

In a matter brought in the Original Jurisdiction of the South Carolina Supreme Court, the Court opined in its January 22, 2014 decision that the citizen group plaintiffs lacked standing.  The plaintiffs asserted public nuisance and zoning claims related to Carnival cruise ship Fantasy’s operations at the Union Pier Terminal near Charleston’s Old and Historic District.  The Court granted Carnival Cruise Lines’ motion to dismiss the lawsuit. 

The Court cited its previous decision in Sea Pines, a challenge by animal rights groups to the issuance of a depravation permit to reduce the deer population on Hilton Head Island, where many children’s vacation fantasies of seeing Bambi are often fulfilled.  The citizen groups attempted to emphasize their “particularized injury” caused by the Fantasy docking in Charleston Harbor.  Specifically, these groups asserted, among other things, the Fantasy “visually disrupts the historic skyline” and emits “noise pollution, including broadcast announcements and music” that have injured these groups and their members by “reducing their use and enjoyment of the local environmental and Charleston’s historic assets.”

Having pondered all of the alleged egregious conduct resulting from the presence of the Fantasy, the Court found “all members of the public suffer from and are inconvenienced by traffic congestion, pollution, noises and obstructed views.”  Thus, it concluded the citizen group plaintiffs lacked standing, a fundamental prerequisite for instituting a legal action.



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