Bounty Lawsuit Filed - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 52 Old 05-10-2013
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Re: Bounty Lawsuit Filed

50 million, wow. You gotta love a US lawsuit.
That would be thrown out of a Canadian court simply because your asking for 50 million. You would be laughed out of court. Most lawsuits in Canada take 8 years to discover and the payout is usually less than $50,000.
That 50 g's will have to pay your lier er or sorry lawyer too.

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post #12 of 52 Old 05-10-2013
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Re: Bounty Lawsuit Filed

I suspect the owner's exclusive strategy is going to be building a firewall between the corporation and his personal liability. That's not as easy to do as most believe, when you are actually calling the shots for the corporation.


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post #13 of 52 Old 05-10-2013
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Re: Bounty Lawsuit Filed

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Originally Posted by Roger Long View Post
A key issue was whether there was any communication between owner and Master. Admiralty law, as far as I know, protects the owner from decisions made by the Captain as long as there is no communication and the owner does not participate in the decision.

The legal defense will probably be:

1) The ship wasn't perfect but was legal and adequate for what she was doing aside from heading into a hurricane.

2) Wallbridge took off without consultation before the owner could do anything to stop him and recall was fruitless. The haste with which he left works in the owner's favor here.

Phone records are going to play a big role in this case which promises to be as interesting as the Arias trial to people more interested in marine events than KY Jelly.

Normally, I would expect a settlement in the blink of an eye but I suspect that the mother wants more than money from this. A settlement would almost certainly prevent her from ever speaking about it again.
Since when do lawsuits follow Admiralty Law? Sometimes they seem to exist outside normal law in some weird gray area. Like when OJ was aquitted of murder, but still fell to a lawsuit based on what he was tried for.

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post #14 of 52 Old 05-10-2013
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Re: Bounty Lawsuit Filed

For me personally, this case clearly shows how important it is for a crew member to keep in mind the condition of the vessel and the quality of the skipper before signing up for a voyage. In case of this particular voyage, what comes to my mind is: "WTF were they thinking?"
jameswilson29 and c. breeze like this.

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post #15 of 52 Old 05-10-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Bounty Lawsuit Filed

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Originally Posted by mad_machine View Post
Since when do lawsuits follow Admiralty Law?
When paid crew members are injured or killed on a ship. Getting this moved out of the admiralty realm will probably be a major part of the strategy.

Maybe a an admiralty lawyer will come alone here and fact check me.
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post #16 of 52 Old 05-10-2013
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Bounty Lawsuit Filed

The law in admiralty, which would apply, is something called "limitation of liability," which says that the recovery is limited to the value of the vessel after the accident -- in this case, zero. (This is, by the way, the origin of the concept that later gave rise to corporations). This can be overcome if the plaintiff can show the vessel was not seaworthy. That can be based on the condition of the vessel or the qualifications and competence of the captain and crew, both of which are dubious here. However, the owner is probably a corporation or LLC, and getting past that entity will not be so easy. Finding liability here should not be hard, collecting money, not so easy.
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post #17 of 52 Old 05-10-2013
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Re: Bounty Lawsuit Filed

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Originally Posted by krisscross View Post
"WTF were they thinking?"
The point is that none of the crew knew enough to even know what they should have been thinking. They were all extremely inexperienced. They were looking for an adventure. They were told that this was going to be great fun, and that they were going out with a careful, competent, and highly experienced captain.

You really cannot blame the crew, in this case.

In fact, it reminds me a bit of the folks we have on this board pretty regularly, who post things like "I have no sailing experience, but I just bought a MacGregor 26, and I'm planning to sail around the world in it. What sort of radio do I need to take?"

And then, when someone tries to politely point out to them that they are completely unprepared for such an undertaking, and that their boat is wholly unsuited to a circumnavigation anyway, we get all the "Quit being such a naysayer! Let them live their dream!" postings in response. There are some people who need to hear a loud and hearty "NAY!" and who need to have their dreams at least deflated a little bit, if not burst completely.

Too bad that no one took aside the inexperienced crew members of the Bounty and gave them a realistic explanation of the risks involved, and the things they should be aware of, before they headed out. Clearly this was a case where yet another mutiny on the Bounty would have been the right thing.
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post #18 of 52 Old 05-10-2013
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Re: Bounty Lawsuit Filed

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Originally Posted by tweitz View Post
.....the owner is probably a corporation or LLC, and getting past that entity will not be so easy......
This is a misperception on many peoples part. The corporate veil is real, but only to the extent that the individual did not personally contribute to the liability. In other words, if you own a share of IBM, you are not liable for its misdeeds, even though you are one of the owners.

However, establish a corporation wherein you are managing its affairs, you likely do remain personally liable. Not for the corporations misdeeds, but for your own.


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post #19 of 52 Old 05-10-2013
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Re: Bounty Lawsuit Filed

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You really cannot blame the crew, in this case.
That was not my intent at all. I apologize if my post sounded like that. I don't know much about the folks who crewed on Bounty, their level of experience and skill, or how well they knew their ship and skipper. And I certainly admire their courage for sticking with their ship and captain. But it is just not me. I would not go out in a boat like that and with a skipper who romanticizes seriously bad weather and pays no attention to critical systems backup (hydraulic pumps were not maintained and not tested on regular basis, despite the ship taking water all the time). These are things every crew member should have been able to notice after being on a ship for a while. What sailor would want to test an Atlantic storm in a boat you know little about, under a skipper you know little about? Not Kris, that's for sure...

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post #20 of 52 Old 05-10-2013
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Re: Bounty Lawsuit Filed

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Long View Post
A key issue was whether there was any communication between owner and Master. Admiralty law, as far as I know, protects the owner from decisions made by the Captain as long as there is no communication and the owner does not participate in the decision.

The legal defense will probably be:

1) The ship wasn't perfect but was legal and adequate for what she was doing aside from heading into a hurricane.

2) Wallbridge took off without consultation before the owner could do anything to stop him and recall was fruitless. The haste with which he left works in the owner's favor here.

Phone records are going to play a big role in this case which promises to be as interesting as the Arias trial to people more interested in marine events than KY Jelly.

Normally, I would expect a settlement in the blink of an eye but I suspect that the mother wants more than money from this. A settlement would almost certainly prevent her from ever speaking about it again.
This seems quite logical to me. Unless it is proven that the owner made pressure over Wallbridge to sail against his best judgement.

I saw that commented as a possibility but I did not saw a shred of evidence that supported that. In fact what I saw was the organization and the owner supporting Wallbridge decisions as a Captain.

James Wilson, as a lawyer can you comment this, I mean the possibility of a owner to be liable by the bad decisions of a captain?

I know that in some cases this is possible, like for instance when an ecological disaster happen by a captain's error.

By the way Rodger, go to the interesting sailboat thread and look at the last movie I posted there. I bet you are going to like

Regards

Paulo


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