"Our argument was that although it was labeled a license, the essence of the document and what they [the housing authority] purported to do was to grant a short-term lease to National Marine," said Rafael De la Grana, who worked on the appellate brief with James K. Clark of Clark, Robb, Mason, Coulombe & Buschman in Miami. "It therefore was entitled to avail itself of the immunity given by the statute."
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge David C. Miller agreed and ruled for National Marine. Emas, who wrote the opinion, Salter and Senior Judge Alan Schwartz affirmed.
Ryan's attorney, Andrew Harris of Burlington & Rockenbach in West Palm Beach, could not be reached for comment by deadline.
In a special concurrence, Schwartz wrote: "On the ground that as a matter of law, no one is liable for the accident but the decedent, I join in affirmance."
De la Grana observed the hearing where Clark argued for National Marine. He said Schwartz's opinion didn't come as a surprise.
"The first question out of Judge Schwartz was, 'Why are we even here? … How is this an issue?"