Jan 22 Carnival Cruise Lines on
Wednesday won a round in a three-pronged legal battle with
residents and environmental groups in Charleston, South
Carolina, over the impact of port operations on the historic
The state Supreme Court tossed out a lawsuit in which
residents claimed a 2,000-passenger Carnival ship that uses
Charleston as its home port created a nuisance. South Carolina
Ports Authority and the city of Charleston intervened in the
lawsuit on Carnival's behalf.
The plaintiffs, which included the Preservation Society of
Charleston and Coastal Conservation League, claimed the ship
Fantasy caused regular traffic congestion while loading and
unloading passengers in the densely populated downtown area,
created air pollution and blocked views. The ship began using
Charleston as a home port three years ago.
The high court ruled that the plaintiffs lacked standing
because the alleged nuisances were widespread and general rather
than particular problems affecting specific individuals.
In a statement after the ruling, Ports Authority chairman
Bill Stern said, "We have contended from day one that this was
an improper lawsuit and an assault on jobs and economic growth
all across our state."
Blan Holman, a lawyer for the nonprofit Southern
Environmental Law Center who represented the plaintiffs, said
the ruling left unanswered whether the cruise operation creates
an illegal nuisance.
Holman said some property owners are considering refiling
the lawsuit as individuals.
The ports authority also is facing legal challenges from
residents and environmental groups as it seeks state and federal
permits to build a bigger $35 million cruise terminal nearby.
In September, a federal judge ruled that the U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers did not adequately address the impact of the
terminal on the downtown area before issuing a permit. The ports
authority and army corps on Jan. 6 dropped their appeal of the
ruling, Holman said.
A lawsuit by residents and environmentalists over a state
permit for the new terminal remains pending in state court, he