Dock Maarten wins lawsuit, but harbor still has options

POSTED: 10/13/15 4:08 PM


St. Maarten – The Harbor Holding company lost a lawsuit against Dock Maarten about the construction of a pier in what the harbor considers its concession area. The Common Court of Justice ruled on Friday that, while Dock Maarten has a building permit for the pier, this is not decisive for the question whether the company acted wrongful towards the harbor. This requires further research, the court ruled.

The harbor took Dock Maarten to court after it lost a previous lawsuit on December 5 of last year. On that occasion, the harbor asked the court to forbid Dock Maarten to continue with the construction of a pier at its marina. The Court in First Instance ruled that Dock Maarten has a valid building permit and that the harbor had failed to object to the permit within the legal term of six weeks.

Friday’s ruling is about an attempt by the harbor to nullify the December-ruling.

The appeals court established that Dock Maarten is constructing the contested pier on a parcel of water that it holds in long lease and that the construction is conform the building permit.

The appeals court disagrees with the Court in First Instance about a crucial question: whether Dock Maarten’s building permit excludes that the company is acting wrongfully towards the harbor.

The relationship between the long lease rights held by Dock Maarten and the harbor’s concession rights is something to be considered, the appeals court judges write in their ruling. It is furthermore unclear whether Dock Maarten’s long lease rights on the water parcels are exempt from the concession the harbor holds.

Answering these questions, the court ruled, requires further research, possibly in a procedure that involves Country St. Maarten as the party that granted the concession to the harbor and the rights of long lease to Dock Maarten.

The court did not offer an opinion in summary proceedings. The judges ruled that the harbor has insufficiently substantiated that it needs a provision based on urgency. The court therefore rejected the harbor’s demand to overrule the Court in First Instance’s December 5 ruling.

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