Articles Posted in Boating Accident Cases

Lisa Tam Chung, a Texas high school senior, bought a vacation package through the defendant, Inc., for a trip to Cancun, Mexico. She added an optional snorkeling excursion as part of her package.

This unfortunate trip had a tragic ending when the snorkeling catamaran hit a coral reef and began to take on water. The crew of the boat was not able to help passengers who were on the boat. Lisa and her friend put on life preservers and tried to reach safety by grabbing a rope that extended between the catamaran and a small private vessel. Their efforts to reach safety failed when they were pulled under water. Lisa suffered heart failure and died. Her friend, Loren, suffered serious injuries, but she survived.

StudentCity is a Delaware corporation that has its principal place of business in Massachusetts. It sells vacation packages to students, including those traveling for spring break or to celebrate graduations.

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Scot Vandenberg and his wife maintained that their allegations in an unfiled tort complaint triggered insurance coverage for an accident that injured Scot, paralyzing him during a party he attended on a 75-foot yacht.

Scot was severely injured when he fell off a bench at the edge of a top deck of the yacht to a lower deck. The original complaint he filed against the companies that owned and maintained the yacht (along with several corporate officers) alleged that the defendants were negligent because there was no railing on the upper level of the yacht.

Two of the defendants sued in this case were insured by Maryland Casualty under a policy that excluded coverage for bodily injury claims involving the ownership, maintenance or use of a watercraft.

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The Illinois Appellate Court for the Second District has reversed a Lake County, Ill., dismissal of a personal-injury and wrongful-death claim against Rene Melbourn who was dismissed on motion under the Illinois Code of Civil Procedures, Section 2-615, for failure to state a cause of action. The plaintiffs appealed the dismissal with prejudice of their second amendment complaint against Melbourn. The trial judge had found that the plaintiffs failed to state a claim for wrongful-death based on an “in-concert” theory of liability and the negligent infliction of emotional distress. Melbourn was the only defendant involved in the appeal.

The facts of the case were that on Dec. 13, 2013, the Borcia family, including Antonio Borcia, was out boating and tubing on Lake County’s Chain of Lakes. The defendant, Melbourn, was sued along with David Hatyina, Spring Lake Marina Ltd. and Fox Waterway Agency over the death of Antonio. In this boating accident, which killed Antonio, it was alleged that Melbourn was liable for in-concert liability for the wrongful death as well as negligent infliction of emotional distress for a bystander who witnessed the collision.

The incident involved Hatyina’s 29-foot cigarette boat, named “Purple Haze,” which struck and killed Antonio on Petite Lake, in Lake Villa, Ill. Melbourn was a passenger on the boat; it was alleged she contributed to Hatyina’s consumption of alcohol and cocaine. Hatyina was impaired as he operated the boat at speeds in excess of 40 mph. Hatyina struck Antonio with the boat. Antonio suffered severe injuries that resulted in his death on July 28, 2012.

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