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  Topic Review (Newest First)
10-21-2015 10:03 AM
xxuxx
Re: Sinking of Rule 62

Absolutely heartbreaking!! ....and totally an unnecessary death. Entering the Lynard Cay cut at night in a rage, for the first time, what was this inexperienced bluewater captain thinking? I wonder if he even knew he was prone to seasickness, which in turn, confused his ability to think rationally. If I had met Laura sooner, she could have sailed with us, an all girl crew, and she would have been safe! God Bless her! Rest in peace.
10-20-2015 08:11 PM
Angie Cushwa
Re: Sinking of Rule 62

With the recent events of El Faro, I take the same position as I did with my sister, Laura Zekoll, and her senseless death. Laura was a working Crew Member aboard Rule 62; she had Standing Orders. Her death, and the deaths of The Crew of El Faro's 33, should haunt those who are at fault. However, they don't care. Neither Laura's death, or likewise the respected El Faro Crews' happened by any mistake. Their lives were cut short due to cowardness and arrogance. Lastly, lack of seamanship heads the order. When someone is killed and then captains, corporate heads, and fleet directors beg out in silence, not taking full responsibility, the family(s) must take charge to the full extent of the law. Anyone who thinks it is about the money, for the mourning family in pursuit of holding those responsible who killed their loved one, is much much more than sorely mistaken. I owned a 30 ft C&C named Ariel for ten years, and my dear Laura learned to sail on that vessel. There was not in 2010, nor has there ever been an acknowledgment or moment of silence held by the Caribbean 1500 Rally. No one gave our family the decency of a phone call. The authorities in both Laura's case, and in the El Faro Crew have not integrity. My prayers go out to the families left in the wake of this needless and horrific tragedy. Again, none of these individuals should have died. Not only are they gone, but the family's do not even have the closure to see and touch their beloved one last time, or even have a burial site. Sudden death brings on shock and an array of complications. We left behind are the ones haunted, conjuring up pictures our loved ones terror. We never found Laura. I'm sorry but I would be remiss if I did not say those are shark infested waters. That is the haunting of mind imagery I was left with. My heart aches for these families, may God comfort them and be with them all. Angie Cushwa
10-08-2015 07:12 PM
xxuxx
Re: Sinking of Rule 62

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
I only know this much. If you are aboard your own vessel, it makes zero difference whether the boat is owned by an LLC. You will be sued personally for your actions. Just as if you made those same action if you rented the boat. Folks misunderstand the corporate veil, which will protect an owner of a corporation from liability caused by someone else.
This is true. In fact, the owner/captain, Dick Ross, was not blue water experienced and was extremely seasick which in turn affected his decision making abilities. The vessel, if I recall, was a 45' Jenneau named "Rule 62". I was one of the last people to speak with Laura on the dock before departure. Our vessel departed late but still encountered the heavy seas while arriving in the Abacos. Extremely poor discision making on the part of an inexperienced blue water captain to enter the Lynard Cay cut in a rage, at night. For me this case is no contest.
10-08-2015 06:12 PM
Slayer
Re: Sinking of Rule 62

If I am a passenger in your car, and I am injured as a result of your negligence, I can sue you for my damages. The same holds true if I am a guest in your home. I don't understand maritime law, but what is surprising about this ruling? Whether I am a volunteer crew or just a guest out on a day sail shouldn't you the captain be accountable for his/her negligence? Did this ruling allow her family to sue where they otherwise would have been unable to? And does her classification as a seamen give her family more rights?
10-08-2015 04:17 PM
Minnewaska
Re: Sinking of Rule 62

I only know this much. If you are aboard your own vessel, it makes zero difference whether the boat is owned by an LLC. You will be sued personally for your actions. Just as if you made those same action if you rented the boat. Folks misunderstand the corporate veil, which will protect an owner of a corporation from liability caused by someone else.
10-08-2015 08:59 AM
CaptOrganized
Re: Sinking of Rule 62

Well it seems as if Laura was covered by the Jones Act according to a convoluted decision by US District Judge Charles Parnell Jr on 09 Jan 2013. (search Cushwa Ross Leagle).

Shortly after, the case was settled out of court and we will probably never get all the facts. (See Raley web site, no details)

Were does that leave us boat owners who take "volunteer" crew cruising after Judge Parnell's decision.

Do we form LLC's, get waivers signed...?
04-07-2013 01:46 PM
billyruffn
Re: Sinking of Rule 62

Although Wikipedia is not always the best source, here's what they have on the relevant section of the Jones Act (Merchant Marine Act):

Quote:
Seaman's rights

The U.S. Congress adopted the Merchant Marine Act in early June 1920, formerly 46 U.S.C. § 688 and codified on October 6, 2006 as 46 U.S.C. § 30104. The Act formalized the rights of seamen.

It allows injured sailors to make claims and collect from their employers for the negligence of the ship owner, the captain, or fellow members of the crew.[4] It operates simply by extending similar legislation already in place that allowed for recoveries by railroad workers and providing that this legislation also applies to sailors. Its operative provision is found at 46 U.S.C. § 688(a), which provides:


"Any sailor who shall suffer personal injury in the course of his employment may, at his election, maintain an action for damages at law, with the right to trial by jury, and in such action all statutes of the United States modifying or extending the common-law right or remedy in cases of personal injury to railway employees shall apply..."

This allows seamen to bring actions against ship owners based on claims of unseaworthiness or negligence. These are rights not afforded by common international maritime law.

The United States Supreme Court, in the case of Chandris, Inc., v. Latsis, 515 U.S. 347, 115 S.Ct. 2172 (1995), has set a benchmark for determining the status of any employee as a "Jones Act" seaman. Any worker who spends less than 30 percent of his time in the service of a vessel on navigable waters is presumed not to be a seaman under the Jones Act. An action under the Act may be brought either in a U.S. federal court or in a state court. The seaman/plaintiff is entitled to a jury trial, a right which is not afforded in maritime law absent a statute authorizing it.
I'm wondering if the legal pro's who frequent these pages would say about the following two hypothesises:

1/ The reason the plaintiffs are seeking to try this under the Jones Act is that it took place in the territorial waters of a foreign sovereign state and therefore US courts may not have jurisdication, other than under the terms of international maritime law, which as we see above doesn't afford the same rights as US law would.

2/ The plaintiffs will have a tough time overcoming the USSC ruling that:

Quote:
Any worker who spends less than 30 percent of his time in the service of a vessel on navigable waters is presumed not to be a seaman under the Jones Act.
Thoughts anyone?

PS And then I found this on Wiki:
04-06-2013 07:31 AM
jameswilson29
Re: Sinking of Rule 62

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
Dig back to torts class and tell me how forming an LLC would make any difference, if you are hired as a delivery skipper and personally cause a loss. An LLC can only limit liability, when it is the defendant. If you are at the helm, you are the defendant, not the LLC. If you have personal assets, which is the variable, you should have them insured, unless you can afford to lose them.
Thank you for recognizing I am not a personal injury lawyer or a business formation lawyer, so I am not expert in this area, but I do deal with creditor-debtor law and debt allocation in divorce. (I don't know what your background is, although sometimes you seem to be quite knowledgeable about law. I would guess you have a law degree, but never practiced outside of serving as in-house counsel.)

I did not write "eliminate" liability, I wrote "reduce" it.

You conduct business through the LLC, so the LLC is the defendant. The classic formation is a holding company and an operating company. The holding company holds any assets, the operating company runs the business. The boat owner signs a written contract with the LLC. The captain is simply an employee of the operating company, as are any crew. Of course, someone may still sue the captain for negligence or intentional torts.

If the captain is wealthy, he has already conveyed his personal assets into an irrevocable trust with spendthrift provisions for estate planning purposes, so no creditors can go after them. Further, the captain has wisely executed a prenuptial agreement and any necessary, subsequent marital agreements with the admiral so he has already allocated the risks of any domestic liabilities, not in an attempt to impoverish or disinherit his spouse, but just to be fair and eliminate a costly divorce. The captain does not really own anything personally, so although he is not "judgment proof", he is "execution proof".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
Of course you do counselor.
04-05-2013 10:29 PM
PalmettoSailor
Re: Sinking of Rule 62

I could accept it a little better if they brought a normal wrongful death suit, but this bogus strategy of stretching a law in place to protect paid professonal crew to cover this case, both rubs me wrong and creates the potential to damage the entire sport of sailing.

We all know the difference between paid crew and offering to partially offset someones expenses, but should this case set a precedent it will have wide reaching detrimental effect.
04-05-2013 09:31 PM
Minnewaska
Re: Sinking of Rule 62

Quote:
Originally Posted by jameswilson29 View Post
I.....I would also guess many of them operate their business through an LLC or other entity to reduce their personal liability
Dig back to torts class and tell me how forming an LLC would make any difference, if you are hired as a delivery skipper and personally cause a loss. An LLC can only limit liability, when it is the defendant. If you are at the helm, you are the defendant, not the LLC. If you have personal assets, which is the variable, you should have them insured, unless you can afford to lose them.

Quote:
I blame the outrageous verdicts on the jurors, not the lawyers..
Of course you do counselor.
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