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ARTICLE ID 188257

DEFENDANT’S Admiralty – Alleged negligent boat operation – Plaintiff falls on board boat – Biceps tear – Bilateral rotator cuff tears and shoulder dislocation – Meniscus tear.

Palm Beach County, FL

The plaintiff claimed that the defendant negligently took his boat out on a rough day, resulting in the plaintiff falling while on board. The defendant argued that the large wave which caused the plaintiff’s fall was unexpected and that the boat was properly operated by the defendant.

The plaintiff was a 58-year-old man at the time of this incident. The plaintiff’s maritime expert testified that there were five to seven foot seas and that the defendant should not have taken his boat out fishing on the day in question.

The defendant’s boat was in the Jupiter Inlet when the plaintiff claimed that the waves caused him to fall on board. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant inappropriately instructed him to hold onto a railing which provided inadequate support. The plaintiff was diagnosed with a tear of the left bicep, bilateral rotator cuff tears and a dislocated right shoulder and a torn meniscus in his left knee, which he claimed were caused as a result of the fall.

The defendant argued that it was an exceptionally large 12-foot high rogue wave which caused the plaintiff’s fall. The defendant contended that the rogue wave was not foreseeable. The defendant testified that the boat was handling the three-foot seas, but the bottom suddenly dropped out due to a large wave and he appropriately steered into the wave. The defense also argued that the plaintiff requested to go out on the boat fishing that day and he was aware of the conditions.

In addition, the defense disputed causation of the injuries claimed by the plaintiff including the injury to his left knee. The defense pointed out that the plaintiff had undergone prior surgery on the left knee before the date of the incident.The jury found no negligence on the part of the defendant which was a legal cause of injury to the plaintiff.

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