Type of action: Wrongful death
Court: U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia
Name of mediator: Hon. Pamela S. Baskervill (Ret.)
Attorney for plaintiff: George Albiston, Norfolk
Plaintiff was the owner and operator of a pleasure boat that was fishing outside of the channel in the James River east of the James River Bridge. Defendant, a tug boat company pushing a barge loaded with oyster shells, exited the channel and ran over the pleasure boat and submerged it, resulting in plaintiff’s death.
The decedent had five adult children and no other dependents. The damages were for solace only. Plaintiff alleged that the tug boat captain was negligent in operating the vessel with restricted vision resulting from the oyster shells on the barge. There was no spotter present on the front of the barge and no video camera or video feed on the barge. Defendant captain did not know he had run over or collided with the pleasure craft until they were notified by another tug boat. Defendant, Dann Marine, filed a limitation action in federal court alleging the total value of the vessel at $500,000. As a result of the filing, all the cases resulting from the accident were to be tried within the limitation action in the federal court of the Eastern District of Virginia.