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Nautical Tours, Inc. v. Department of Public Utilities (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-147-14)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030;   SJC-11455   NAUTICAL TOURS, INC.  vs.  DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC UTILITIES. August 20, 2014.   Department of Public Utilities.  License.  Public Utilities, Sight-seeing vehicle.  Carrier, Sight-seeing vehicle.  Motor Vehicle, Sight-seeing vehicle.     Nautical Tours, Inc. (Nautical Tours), appeals from a judgment of a single justice of this court affirming a decision of the Department of Public Utilities (department) that it did not have jurisdiction to issue the type of license needed by Nautical Tours to operate its business in the city of Boston.  Nautical Tours seeks to operate amphibious motor vehicles for sightseeing and charter purposes on the streets of Cambridge and Boston and the waters of the Charles River and Boston Harbor.  The parties disagree about the appropriate license needed to operate in Boston.  Nautical Tours contends that it must obtain a municipal street license pursuant to G. L. c. 159A, § 1.  The department ruled that Nautical Tours was required to obtain a sightseeing license, which the Boston police commissioner has the exclusive authority to issue, pursuant to St. 1931, c. 399.  We agree with the department that the Legislature established two different licensing schemes.  Although a municipal street license is needed to carry passengers for hire on the public ways of cities and towns in the Commonwealth under G. L. c. 159A, § 1, a sightseeing automobile operating in the city of Boston must obtain a separate sightseeing license under St. 1931, c. 399.  Because we further agree with the department that it did not have jurisdiction to issue Nautical Tours a municipal street license to operate its amphibious motor vehicles in Boston, we affirm.   Background.  In 2010, Nautical Tours filed a petition with the department concerning its proposed operation of amphibious motor vehicles over certain public ways in Boston.  Nautical Tours asked the department (1) to exercise its licensing authority to issue a municipal street license under G. L. c. 159A, § 1; and (2) to amend the certificate of public convenience and necessity that it had issued in a proceeding in 2007, under G. L. c. 159A, § 7.   In its 2007 order, the department concluded that Nautical Tours had not met its burden of demonstrating that it was able to operate its proposed plan, because it could not demonstrate that it had secured adequate financing.  See Deacon Transp., Inc. v. Department of Pub. Utils., 388 Mass. 390, 394 (1983).  To facilitate Nautical Tour’s ability to […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - August 20, 2014 at 3:11 pm

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