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Li-Shou v. United States

United States District Court, D. Maryland

January 31, 2014

WU TIEN LI-SHOU
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

As Amended February 4, 2014.

For Tien Li -Shou Wu, Plaintiff: Timothy B Shea, Nemirow Hu and Shea, Washington, DC.

For United States of America, Defendant: Jill Dahlmann Rosa, LEAD ATTORNEY, United States Department of Justice, Civil Division, Washington, DC; Thomas M Brown, United States Department of Justice, Washington, DC.

OPINION

Page 308

AMENDED MEMORANDUM

J. Frederick Motz, United States District Judge.

Wu Tien Li-Shou, the widow of Wu Lai-Yu, has brought this admiralty and maritime action against the United States of America for the wrongful death of her late husband and the destruction of JIN CHUN TSAI 68 (" the JCT 68" ), a fishing vessel and its cargo he owned. Wu Lai-Yu was the master of the vessel. Master Yu was a hostage of Somali pirates and was killed from fire emanating from the USS Stephen W. Groves, owned and operated by the United States Navy off the coast of Somalia. After the firing had ceased, members of the crew of the USS Groves boarded and then sank the JCT 68.

The United States has moved to dismiss the complaint asserting that this court lacks jurisdiction under the political question doctrine. The motion will be granted.

In Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186, 217, 82 S.Ct. 691, 7 L.Ed.2d 663 (1962), the Supreme Court articulated six formulations, any one of which indicates a nonjusticiable political question:

(1) A textually demonstrable constitutional commitment of the issue to a coordinated political department; or
(2) A lack of judicially discoverable and manageable standards for resolving it; or
(3) The impossibility of deciding without an initial policy determination of a kind clearly for nonjudicial discretion; or
(4) The impossibility of a court's undertaking independent resolution without expressing lack of the respect due coordinate branches of government; or
(5) An unusual need for unquestioning adherence to a political decision already made; or

(6) The potentiality of embarrassment from multifarious pronouncements ...


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