Limitation Of Liability Statute Applies To The M/V Conception Fire And Will Be Invoked By The Vessel’s Owner:
Update: On September 5, 2019, the vessel owners, Truth Aquatics, Inc., Glenn Richard Fritzler and Dana Jeanne Fritzler, filed a Complaint about Exoneration from or Limitation of Liability relating to the tragic fire on the M/V Conception, where 34 people were killed. The complaint states that the M/V Conception “is a total loss due to the Fire and has zero value as a result of the Fire.” The vessel owners now seek exoneration from this Incident, or in the alternative, if the fault is found, that the liability of the owners not exceed the value of the boat.
Victims of accidents involving seagoing vessels such as dive boat M/V Conception, can anticipate that the owner of the vessel will file an action in a U.S. District Court, asking the court to limit its liability for injury or death arising from the tragic September 2, 2019, fire to a maximum of $420 per gross tonnage of the vessel based upon the Limitation of Liability Act of 1851, 46 U.S.C. §30501 et seq. (Limitation Act). According to the U.S. Coast Guard, M/V Conception had 97 gross tons. If the Limitation Act is successfully asserted, the most the victims or the families of the victims can recover in damages is $40,740.00.
The defenses set forth in the Limitation Act can be defeated. The owner can limit its liability only if the casualty was occasioned or incurred without its “privity and knowledge.” Privity and knowledge are highly technical terms. Victims and their families should hire an experienced admiralty and maritime lawyer to successfully overcome the defenses set forth in the Limitation Acton. With over 39 years of admiralty and maritime experience, the attorneys at Banning LLP have overcome the defenses of the Limitation Act in dozens of cases. William L. Banning, of Banning LLP, is one of only 35 certified legal specialists in California for Admiralty and Maritime Law.
There are many nuances to maritime law. We are here to help and fight for victims of maritime accidents and achieve a fair and just result. We also regularly partner with nonmaritime attorneys who may need an experienced plaintiffs’ maritime lawyer in their corner.
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