Judge issues decision in lawsuit between CBJ and cruise ship association
Federal District Court Judge H. Russel Holland issued a decision today in the lawsuit Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) vs. the City and Borough of Juneau (CBJ). While there were multiple issues raised between the parties, the conclusion from Judge Holland was that the collection of fees associated with cruise ships entering the Juneau port (Marine Passenger fees and Port Development fees) are constitutional. He further determined that the expenditure of those fees in service of the vessels is constitutional but that expenditure of those fees on projects and services solely for the benefit of the passengers is unconstitutional.
The lawsuit started in the spring of 2016 when CLIA alleged CBJ was unconstitutionally spending fees collected from cruise ship passengers. CBJ denied the allegations. CBJ believes it has spent passenger fees in a constitutional manner. Over the past two years, the parties have engaged in discovery and filed motions to narrow the issues for trial or resolve the lawsuit. Judge Holland presided over hearings on September 18, 2018.
The CBJ staff and Assembly are reviewing Judge Holland’s findings to determine what impact it may have on current operations.