U.S. Court Dismisses Hawaii Jones Act Claims

A Matson containership.
A Matson containership. Photo: Matson

A federal court in Hawaii has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the effectiveness of the Jones Act in the state. 

Plaintiffs Patrick Novak, Daniel Rocha, Larry Kenner, Ken Schoolland, Bjorn Arntzen, Philip R. Wilkerson, and William Akina, Ph.D, collectively filed the complaint in November 2012 seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as monetary damages, in connection with the U.S. government’s enforcement of the Jones Act in Hawaii. The plaintiff’s argued that the enforcement of the Jones Act, as applied in the State of Hawaii, is an unlawful restraint of interstate trade and subsequently raises costs to consumers.

The court, however, determined that the plaintiff’s merely assert a generalized disagreement with the Jones Act and unsubstantiated claims of economic harm allegedly caused by it, and dismissed the complaint with prejudice.

The cases dismissal is the latest victory for the Jones Act. In March, the U.S. Government Accountability Office released a report disproving shippers’ claims that the Jones Act raises prices for consumers in Puerto Rico.

Full Case: PATRICK NOVAK; DANIEL ROCHA; LARRY KENNER, dba KENNER, INC., a Hawai`i corporation; KEN SCHOOLLAND; BJORN ARNTZEN; PHILIP R. WILKERSON; and WILLIAM AKINA, Ph.D. vs. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA