CHARLESTON, SC (AP/WCSC) - The South Carolina Supreme Court has agreed to hear a lawsuit challenging Charleston's expanded cruise industry without having the case going first go to a lower court.
Residents and environmental groups sued Carnival cruise lines last year alleging the company's vessels are a public nuisance, amount to illegal hotel operations and that their red, white and blue smokestacks violate city sign ordinances.
The plaintiffs include Charleston residents, the Coastal Conservation League and the Preservation Society of Charleston.
The city and the State Ports Authority have been allowed to intervene on the side of Carnival. The defendants asked the Supreme Court to take immediate jurisdiction, saying the case threatens maritime commerce and is a matter of statewide interest.
No date has been set for the justices to hear the case.
The City of Charleston and the South Carolina Ports Authority released the following statement:
"We are pleased that the Supreme Court has granted review of this case in its original jurisdiction, and we look forward to having these important legal issues decided as soon as possible. An expedited resolution has huge significance for all of the State's ocean trade, not just for cruise ships alone."