Lawsuit Claims Ohio River Marina Is Operating Unauthorized Fleeting Service

An Ohio construction and asphalt company and related terminal are suing a fleeting service and marina, along with the Pittsburgh Engineer District, in a federal lawsuit that claims the fleeting service is unauthorized and is interfering with their business.

Shelly & Sands Inc. and S&S Terminal Inc., both of Zanesville, Ohio, filed the lawsuit against Rick Dement, Ohio River Marine LLC, Rayland Marina LLC and the Pittsburgh District on November 22 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio – Eastern Division.

The lawsuit claims that Rayland Marina has been violating its lease with the Corps of Engineers since 2017. They say the marina’s operator, Dement, runs Ohio River Marine LLC, and that the business violates Dement’s 2007 lease with the Corps, which permits only public recreational services, according to the complaint. The lawsuit additionally alleges that Dement violated his lease by building a dock at the marina.

“The commercial tugboat fleeting business and the makeshift dock along the shore of the marina from which it operates interfere with the navigability of the Ohio River and endanger both Shelly & Sands and the public at large,” the complaint alleges.

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Such complaints are typically the first document filed in a lawsuit and lay out the plaintiffs’ case. They do not include a response from the defendants and therefore represent only one side of the lawsuit. No judgment has been made on the merits of the case.

Through the lawsuit, the plaintiffs request an injunction against the defendants operating any commercial business at the marina, including the fleeting business, a requirement that the defendants remove the dock and commercial fleet, a declaration that Dement is in breach of his contract with the Corps, damages and attorney fees and costs as well as a trial by jury.

No response had been filed as of November 30.

The case is styled Shelly & Sands Inc. et al. v. Dement et al., case number 2:22-cv-04144.