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United States v. Kaluza

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

May 30, 2013

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
ROBERT KALUZA and DONALD VIDRINE

         SECTION K

          David Gerger Shaun Clarke, T.A. (La. Bar. No. 24054) Dane Ball David Isaak, applying for admission pro hac vice Gerger & Clarke Attorneys for Defendant Robert Kaluza

          Of Counsel John D. Cline, applying for admission pro hac vice Law Office of John D. Cline

          MEMORANDUM SUPPORTING MR. KALUZA'S MOTION TO DISMISS COUNTS 12-22: THESE COUNTS APPLY ONLY TO SHIP OFFICERS AND OTHER EMPLOYEES WORKING IN MARINE OPERATIONS, MAINTENANCE, AND NAVIGATION- NOT TO MESSRS. KALUZA & VIDRINE (JOINED BY DEFENDANT DONALD VIDRINE)

          STANWOOD R. DUVAL, JR. JUDGE

         Table of Contents

         PAGE NO.

         1. INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................. 1

         2. BACKGROUND ..................................................................................................... 1

         3. 18 U.S.C. § 1115 APPLIES ONLY TO “SHIP OFFICERS” AND OTHER EMPLOYEES WORKING IN MARINE OPERATIONS, MAINTENANCE, OR NAVIGATION-AND NOT SOMEONE IN MR. KALUZA'S OR MR. VIDRINE'S POSITION .......................................... 3

A. The Plain Language of the Statute Does Not Apply to Messrs. Kaluza and Vidrine ....................................................................... 3
B. Canons of Statutory Construction Preclude a Broader Application ................................................................................................... 4
i. Ejusdem Generis ................................................................................ 5
ii. Noscitur a Sociis ................................................................................ 7

         4. RULE OF LENITY ................................................................................................ 9

         5. CONCLUSION ..................................................................................................... 11

         1. INTRODUCTION

         In his Motion to Dismiss Counts 1-22 for failure to charge an offense and lack of jurisdiction, Mr. Kaluza (joined by Mr. Vidrine) shows that 18 U.S.C. § 1115 applies only within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States-and not aboard a foreign-flag and foreign owned vessel on the high seas like the Deepwater Horizon. The current motion presents a second and independent reason to dismiss counts 12-22: Specifically, § 1115 applies only to “ship officers” and other employees working in marine operations, maintenance, or navigation. The statute does not apply to persons such as Mr. Kaluza (and Mr. Vidrine) working on a vessel in a different capacity.

         As in the Motion to Dismiss Counts 1-22, pre-trial dismissal is appropriate where the relevant facts are not reasonably in dispute. See, e.g., United States v. Radley, 632 F.3d 177, 180-81 (5th Cir. 2011); United States v. Flores, 404 F.3d 320, 325 (5th Cir. 2005), cited in United States v. Rainey, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71117, at *13-*15, *30-*31 (E.D. ...


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