Monday, June 30, 2008

Alaska Ranger - Fishing company seeks to limit liability

SEATTLE, June 29 (UPI) -- The owners of a fishing boat that sank in the Bering Sea are asking a federal judge to limit the Seattle firm's liability for the accident, court papers show.The Seattle Times reported Sunday 21 personal-injury and two wrongful-death lawsuits have been filed in King County Superior Court over the sinking of the Alaska Ranger. The lawsuits accuse Fishing Co. of Alaska in Seattle, which owned the 189-foot head-and-gut processor, of negligence and operating an unseaworthy vessel.

If the Court finds that the owners of the vessel had privity or knowledge of negligence or unseaworthiness the Court will likely deny limitation.


Looks like the litigation is going strong with lots of plaintiffs and attorneys.

The article says: Some made it into life rafts, but others floated in the dark in survival suits for hours as they awaited rescue. Coast Guard rescuers picked up 20 crew members, and the Ranger's sister ship, the Alaska Warrior, picked up 22. Four of the five bodies were recovered. In a filing in U.S. District Court in Seattle earlier last week, Fishing Company of Alaska (FCA) lawyers asked a federal judge to invoke an archaic piece of maritime law — once called a "vestige of time gone by" by a federal appellate judge — that limits the amount of money that can be sought by survivors or the families of the dead to the value of the Alaska Ranger and its cargo "at the end of voyage." In this case, the voyage ended on the bottom of the Bering Sea, and the boat is worth exactly nothing. The lawsuit asks the court to find that FCA and its owners "are not liable to any extent for any loss or damage or for any claims whatsoever ... [and] liability be limited to zero in damages ... ."

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