Scuba Dive Boat Owner Attempts to Use 168 Year-Old Law

*Kreindler is carefully following the investigation into the fire and subsequent loss of 33 lives aboard the scuba dive boat near Santa Barbara, California on September 2, 2019. Navy veteran and Kreindler partner Dan Rose has been contacted by numerous national media organizations for legal insight related to the tragedy.

Attorneys for the owner of the scuba dive vessel, "Conception," filed a "Complaint for Exoneration from or Limitation of Liability" in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on September 5, 2019. In the complaint, vessel owner Truth Aquatics, Inc. cites the Shipowner’s Limitation of Liability Act of 1851, a 168 year-old law that can limit the boat owner's liability to the value of the craft at the conclusion of the voyage, which the owner says is zero. Furthermore, the complaint asks the Court to adjudge that Plaintiffs and the "CONCEPTION", are to be completely exonerated from liability arising out of the Fire of September 2, 2019 . . . and that no liability exists on the part of Plaintiffs and "CONCEPTION" from any injuries or damages or deaths resulting from the Fire . . . "

The law, the Limitation of Liability Act of 1851, has been used in the past by ship operators, including the owners of the Titanic, the Deep Water Horizon oil rig and the cargo ship, El Faro. Kreindler attorneys have fought and won or settled cases in which ship owners have raised the Limitation of Liability law to try limit or eliminate their responsibility, but Kreindler defeated those efforts.

See Kreindler cases: 
El Faro Loss Raises Serious Legal and Safety Concerns About the Voyage (33 Crew Members Died in Tragedy)
Massiah v. Vulcan Materials (Navy Sailor Killed in Tugboat Collision)
Young vs. Moran Towing Corporation (Wrongful Death Lawsuit for Family of Deckhand)

"It really is antithetical to most fair-minded people and jurists to allow this old defense to potentially let someone off scot-free. It is certainly a tactic, but shipping owners aren’t bluffing - it is the law."
~ Kreindler partner Daniel O. Rose

Kreindler will continue to follow the investigation and the filings in this case and is available for discussion. Kreindler & Kreindler LLP has represented hundreds of seamen during its 60 year history of prosecuting maritime cases. To read more about Kreindler's maritime practice, click here. If you have specific questions regarding the Conception boat tragedy or about Kreindler's maritime practice, please contact partner Dan Rose at 212.973.3414 or email him at [email protected]