Pulled out a cleat at my slip, now getting pursued for damages - advice please - Page 3 - SailNet Community
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post #21 of 96 Old 03-19-2012
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Re: Pulled out a cleat at my slip, now getting pursued for damages - advice please

OK, I'm not a lawyer so please bear with me on a couple of thoughts.

First, unless Bene was negligent in how he secured his vessel then my initial thought is that he shoulders no fault here.

The marina knew the size/displacement of Bene's boat. By assigning him this particular parking place, they assume responsibility for ensuring that is it adequately sized to hold his vessel. It was their call to put him there, not Bene's. The marina should carry their own insurance to cover things like this.

If the cleat tore out due to improper maintenance of the dock and/or dock hardware, then the owner is at fault. Look at it another way: Say the mailman comes to my house, and while he is delivering the mail the front door falls off of the hinges. You think the USPS is going to buy me a new door? I'm betting not... The dock owner and the marina need to work it out between themselves.

Of course, this is assuming that common sense is at play here.

Bene, I hope you don't wind up having to get lawyered up for this one. I'm in full agreement that you should be dealing only with the marina.
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post #22 of 96 Old 03-19-2012
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Re: Pulled out a cleat at my slip, now getting pursued for damages - advice please

George in your scenario the marina bears no responsibility for their docks or equipment. I can't see that being the case -- even if their slip agreement is written that way. I'm not a lawyer but I do know that a contract can't supercede the law. Put another way, if you fell through the dock would it be your fault for not swimming underneath to check its condition?

I'd put it right back in the marina's lap. Their equipment failed -- regardless of whether they're subletting that equipment. It's not up to you to determine the cause. Online everybody wants to be a lawyer and overthink these things.

I wouldn't get the insurance company involved unless this guy really wants to push it. Sounds like a fishing expedition. Hopefully you have a good relationship with the marina. That could help.

Best of luck Brad. Dealing with this is the kind of thing that can really ruin your day.

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post #23 of 96 Old 03-19-2012
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liability insurance deductible unlikely

Brad,
I believe you mentioned that you had not contacted your insurance company because your "deductible is huge". Most likely, your deductible only applies to damage to your boat. Liability deductibles are rare on marine insurance. I suggest you talk to your insurance company and let them deal with it.
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post #24 of 96 Old 03-19-2012
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Re: Pulled out a cleat at my slip, now getting pursued for damages - advice please

I think we have an apples and oranges comparison. A person falling through an unsafe dock is far different than your property causing damage to someone else’s property. The analogy would be more like: You park your car on a hill. Somehow, it rolls down the hill and hits a parked rental car. Who is responsible, the person who rented the car? The car’s manufacturer who should have foreseen you parking on that hill? I would still work with your insurance company and the owner of the property in order to mitigate your exposure.

This does bring up some interesting questions. Who’s insurance company pays for the damages in a hurricane or tsunami? When the tsunami hit Santa Cruz there were plenty of boats sunk or damaged by being hit by other boats or docks? Any Santa Cruz sailors out there?
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post #25 of 96 Old 03-19-2012
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Re: Pulled out a cleat at my slip, now getting pursued for damages - advice please

Would it really require hauling a 60 ft dock out of the water to replace a face board and a cleat?

It certainly can't hurt to get advice from your insurance company.

I tend to agree with those that have saidl; the only contract you had was between you and the marina. If they're a full service yard, they already have labor, and they must have cleats. If the marina leases the docks from dock owner and then rents them to you, it would seem they have an obligation to maintain them. But that couldn't be known without seeing their contractual arrangement. What's in the fine print of your rental agreement?

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post #26 of 96 Old 03-19-2012
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Re: Pulled out a cleat at my slip, now getting pursued for damages - advice please

Any color on why she pulled a cleat? Was it rotted or overloaded/undersized or weather related? Might make a significant different in how I handled it.


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post #27 of 96 Old 03-19-2012
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Re: Pulled out a cleat at my slip, now getting pursued for damages - advice please

Wait a minute...lemme get this straight.

1. You rent a slip at this marina
2. The marina launched your boat and tied it to the dock that got damaged. But, if I understand your original post, the boat WAS NOT IN YOUR SLIP. Please clarify. The marina parked your boat there on a temporary basis?

If that's the case, I'd tell the dock owner to bugger off. What if the marina owner was launching the boat, but dropped it on someone's Mercedes? Your fault? I don't think so.
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post #28 of 96 Old 03-19-2012
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Re: Pulled out a cleat at my slip, now getting pursued for damages - advice please

Not only am I not a lawyer, but I really don't know jack about anything.

Having said that, it's my opinion that nobody has a legal right to your insurance information. If the dock owner is legally entitled to compensation from you, then they need to take that up with you. You can decide whether to submit a claim to your insurance company or not.

I once had a truck that was struck and significantly damaged by another vehicle while my truck was parked. The other driver's insurance company asked me for my insurance information, and told me that I had to file a claim with my insurance company first, to see if they would pay. I did not give them the information, and told them that my insurance had nothing to do with the other driver's liability for the damage to my truck. Likewise, I think it's possible that the dock owner is hoping that they can get some free money from your insurance. I think that here in the U.S., many people think of insurance as a way to get money out of an unfortunate situation without anyone having to take responsibility, and many policy holders go along with this because they feel like they've dodged a bullet if their insurance company pays somebody.

If I were in the position that I think you've described, I would respond once, or perhaps twice, to the dock owner with a polite registered letter explaining that you are not liable for the damages to their dock. After that I would ignore them until contacted by a lawyer. I certainly would not give them my insurance information as that is none of their business.

By the way, it wouldn't hurt to get some advice from an attorney now. Many will offer a free consultation.
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post #29 of 96 Old 03-19-2012
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Re: Pulled out a cleat at my slip, now getting pursued for damages - advice please

I wonder if you all should reconsider this attitude: Do you really want to move? If you got the owner & the marina master out to look at the problem, the 3 of you could fix it together ;& come away loking like best friends, No War! You I am afraid got caught up in,a on going Problem, that a cool head could easily sort out . Life short . Offer to take the guy sailing!...Dale

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post #30 of 96 Old 03-19-2012
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Re: Pulled out a cleat at my slip, now getting pursued for damages - advice please

have you got photos of the damaged dock, the wood, the bolt size in the cleat and cleat its self with a measure tape along side to show sizes.
If you have a contract with marina then read it and see where you stand. If nothing mentioned then tell marina it's their baby and be happy that nothing happened to your boat.
As for the mystery dock owner " Mute" your only dealings are with marina.
If you feel responsible then repair it, if not then don't.
If marina put it there, then their responsible.

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