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ARTICLE ID 188270

$________ – ADMIRALTY – NEGLIGENT OPERATION OF BOAT – EXCESSIVE SPEED – SUDDEN TURN – DECEDENT IS THROWN FROM BOAT – WRONGFUL DEATH AT AGE 31.

Palm Beach County, FL

This was a wrongful death action stemming from a collision between the defendant’s 34-foot speedboat and a channel marker in the Intracoastal Waterway. The impact threw the decedent from the boat and resulted in his death. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant was intoxicated and negligently operated the boat at an excessive speed. The defendant maintained that the decedent was intoxicated and that his death was caused by his own intoxicated state.

The decedent and his sister were patrons of a Delray Beach nightclub on May 8, ________, when they met the defendant. The defendant told of his recent purchase of a 34-foot speed boat, a ________ Donzi. The defendant invited the decedent and his sister for a ride on the boat, which they accepted. Soon thereafter, the three left the nightclub and went out on the defendant’s boat.

The plaintiff alleged that the defendant negligently operated the boat at an excessive rate of speed in the Intracoastal Waterway, was under the influence of alcohol and violated several other marine safety rules, including failure to ensure that all aboard were wearing life jackets. The plaintiff contended that the defendant was operating the boat at a speed of approximately 30 mph at 2:00a.m. when he suddenly made a sharp turn in an attempt to avoid colliding with a channel marker. The defendant’s boat struck the marker anyway and the sudden turn threw the decedent from the vessel.

The decedent’s body was discovered in the water by police approximately an hour later. The cause of death was listed as drowning with blunt force trauma as a contributing factor. The defendant was charged with vessel homicide, reckless operation of a vessel and violation of navigational rules. He was subsequently charged with boating under the influence of alcohol manslaughter.

The plaintiff claimed that the decedent’s blood alcohol results shortly after the incident were .________ and .________, well above the legal limit of .08. The decedent was a single man with no children and was survived by his parents. He was employed in an administrative capacity at a fitness facility.The case settled prior to trial for a total of $________.

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