Jenner & Block

Firm Wins Victory in Dispute over Motorboat Limits on Michigan Lake

Jenner & Block secured a victory for clients who intervened as defendants in a case brought by a couple who own a home on a lake adjacent to the Sylvania Wilderness in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  The owners, the Herrs, claimed that the US Forest Service lacked authority to limit motorboating on the lake to electric motors at no wake speed.  The firm’s clients include Sylvania Wilderness Cabins, the owners of those cabins and two environmental groups in the Upper Peninsula.  The firm opposed the Herrs’ complaint, arguing that motorboating was 1. properly regulated by the Forest Service, 2. reasonably limited to electric motors operating at no-wake speed, and 3. interfered with the riparian rights of the firm’s clients.  On June 13, the US District Court for the Western District of Michigan Northern Division granted the firm’s motion for summary judgment.  In its opinion, the court held that the Forest Service acted within its authority when modifying motorboat usage on the lake.  “Its actions in doing so were not arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law,” wrote Judge R. Allan Edgar.  The team was led by Partner Robert L. Graham.