Crownline sued over Florida crash

Posted on

Survivors of a fatal Easter Sunday boating accident in Palm Valley, Fla., are suing Crownline Boats, alleging that the “unsafe design” of the bowrider contributed to the crash.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court by Francis Moore, his son Joshua Moore, and Jamie Hole, according to a report from They are three of the nine survivors who were aboard the 22-footer when it crashed.

The lawsuit states that riding in the bow is unsafe because it “exposes persons on the bow to the risk of ejection in case of collision, and it places passengers in front of the driver, thereby obstructing the driver’s ability to see objects in or on the water ahead of the vessel,” First Coast News reports.

The story notes that 14 people were on the Crownline, two more than the 12 passengers it is designed to hold, when it hit a push-boat in the Intracoastal Waterway.

The plaintiffs are seeking $75,000 in damages.

Officials from Crownline could not be reached this morning for comment.

Click here and here to read local reports.


27 comments on “Crownline sued over Florida crash

  1. Rip728

    How is doing something stupid always the manufacturers fault? People do not seem to be able to accept responsibility for their actions.

  2. Judd

    Sad that everything comes down to lawsuits these days.  That takes a lot of guts to go after a large company legally when you’re blatently mis-using the product (overloading it).

  3. phish

    it all boils down to greed.  The people on this boat were simply plain and negligent with the overloading. If someone in the bow is obstructing your view,  tell them to move to the back with the other dozen.  This will hopefully go nowhere in court.  People who sue for frivolous reasons should have to pay court costs for the defendants and municipalities and get it socked back to them.

  4. Tom33455

    You must be kidding………..Rip728 has it right.  This boater needs to take responsibility for his negligence………….Oh, I forgot……. the driver is probably old enough that he or she wasn’t required to take a boating safety course so can’t be held responsible for being ignorant of even the most basic safety principles …………If states don’t require it, boater education isn’t necessary, right?  So it must be the manufacturer’s fault.  If this isn’t another case for mandatory boater education I don’t know what is. 

  5. MW

    Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. 
    Just because you can fit 14 people in the boat doesn’t mean you should.
    Just because you can sue doesn’t mean you should.

  6. gatekeeper

    The amount of $75k is “low” enough (considering potential numbers) that this ambulance chasing lawyer apparently hopes Crownline’s insurer will pay just to make him go away.

  7. wcm III

    Overloaded and  I understand they were operating at dusk, and high speed!
    Were they drunk? This speaks to the lack of responsibility we see so much of today.

  8. Island boy

    Don’t ya just love those attorney’s that encourage this type of litigation?
    Hopefully a seasoned boater with be on the jury, if so their claim does not hold water. Their comments suggest that the operator had no liability in the outcome. What captain allows over loading? What captain doesn’t stand if necessary to ensure safe operational vision? What captain operates a boat at unsafe speeds in questionable situations? While it is a shame that life was lost, it’s not the fault of Crownline for building a bow rider. If the findings suggest shoddy workmanship as the cause, that is different. However, Crownline had nothing to do with the actual accident.

  9. Sea Call

    Just typical ignorance and inexperience on the part of these people and obviously the person at the helm.  This gives more credence to a licensing requirement, since anybody that can buy a boat can get on the water and pilot it without any experience whatsoever.  Boating education needs to be a requirement, particularly for the inexperienced.  It won’t prevent all these incidents, but at least they couldn’t plead ignorance of the rules of the road, boat capacity, etc., regardless of whether they choose to obey the standards / rules.

  10. Tony

    Since when was owner stupidity the boat manufacturer’s fault? I work for a major boat dealership and I have heard of some dumb things that customer’s try to get the manufacturer or dealer pay for, but this was criminal on the captain/owners behalf. Take responsibility for your own damn actions instead of blaming someone else.

  11. Joe Carr Sr

    This is a case of negilence by an unqualified boat operator and criminal charges should be brought against the operator and owner of the vessel, if they are not one in the same.  Also if I were a “boatdumb” guest I would be suing him for negligence and poor control of his vessel.  If the operator was qualified there would not have been this many people on the boat.  Next the helmsman should have not even moved the boat without instructing his passengers to be seated and what their responsibilities were. As soon as they impaired his vision he should have slowed immediately to a stop and gain control of his guests.  This suit is rediculous and without merit.  I have over 90,000 miles in command at the helm of multiple vessels up to 90 ft.  I see operators like this all the time and people like this do not belong on the water.

  12. aboatperson

    I think it is time for some attorney to sue these morons and their ambulance chasing  attorney’s on be half of the company(crownline) and all other companies who have to charge more money for their products so that they can settle these fraudulant cases. Through in the irresponsable Judges who keep their Jobs through patronage and trial lawyers donations. They  should be tossing these suits out before they even begin just on the lack of merits. Where will it end? After all manufacturing is sent out of this country who is next?

  13. Kevin

    Well, the first problem is the statement “the operator was chosen because she was sober” (attorneys statement and questionable).
    Second, this was not hitting a piling at dusk. This was hitting a tow. It does not take much visibility from helm to see a tow, that is unless a bunch of drunk fools are taking your attention away from operation of the vessel.

  14. Jimbucks

    They say overloaded by 2 people, but how about the weight limit factor, they could have been much more overloaded than is being stated. As we all feel, this is a joke and just a quick way to get thier greedy paws on some money. I bet your going to here that they’re really not interested in the money, they just feel it’s important for safety to change a design that’s been around for over 40 years. If you all feel that these types of lawsuits are growing and more than a joke, then you best keep it in mind on the next election cycle.

  15. PeterJ.

    I love to read stuff coming out of the US….despite everything that’s going on in the world today, you have people filing a lawsuit on ….Oh what is their case again, besides been overloaded :-/ …. oH yes: riding in the bow is unsafe because it “exposes persons on the bow to the risk of ejection in case of collision” LOL… Then every yacht, dingy, inflatable and rib should be pulled off the water till we find a way to secure the bow LOL… Then the survivors on the bow of the Titanic should have tried the same case. I would like to know if the plaintiffs lawer is from the same family as the plaintiffs?

  16. Gordon Schwarzer

    I believe we’re missing the main point.  Our Judicial System.
    The courts accept these lawsuits on a regular basis.  There is no price paid if the case is lost.  Court and defendents costs should be paid by the plaintiff.  That would cut way back on filings. Also help us all with insurance premiums.

  17. wjs81866

    Clearly we don’t have enough culling of the heard anymore; the unfortunate side effect to this is that people like this survive to overload a boat, drive too fast for conditions (At night), hit a stationary object and then sue the manufacturer because they (the boat owners) were/are stupid.
    FYI idiot – If you drive into something and everyone is thrown into the water; it’s not the builders fault.
    Just thought I would point out the obvious; seemed necessary.

  18. Capt Russ Cohen

    Most of the comments are correct. These people were actually breaking the law by overloading, boating while intoxicated, excessive speed and not using a safe lookout as required by rules of the road. Our judicial system is a mess and it’s unfortunate that “Idiots” like these travel our waterways. They place us all in danger as they could have easily hit one of us!
    However, we have marketed our “Hands-On” Training Services to many manufacturers including Crownline and most respond by saying that it’s not their responsibility, it’s the responsibility of the dealer. The fact is that if Crownline promoted “Hands-on” training and gave their dealers and customers a resource, that would be far more ammunition to have this case thrown out quicker and cost Crownline far less money than to probably just settle.
    Like it or not, and I agree completely you can’t have laws for stupidity, cases like this raise the attention of the USCG and they are looking long and hard on education in the marine industry, or lack of it. Stay tuned for alot more discussion on this topic. Having been an expert witness a number of times in accidents, Crownline will win this case, but with much cost and aggravation. Also, let’s not forget 5 people’s lives were lost due to not only massive stupidity, but also lack of education. Alot of lives have been lost in boating accidents over the last month or so! What a tragic waste.
    Thanks, take care and we’ll see Ya on the Water,
    Capt Russ Cohen, Founder & President, Boatboy Marine Training

  19. hart

    this is all Crownline needs right now……some opportunistic losers taking advantage.   So many people just will not take responsibility for their own actions.  I wish judges would start mocking these people and fining them for wasting taxpayer money with these bogus lawsuits.  

  20. AC

    Everyone is looking at the judicial side of things and that is great but I am very close to the Crownline company and this is the very last thing that they need to deal with at this paticular point in time. I just hope that these drunken idiots don’t hammer the last nail in the coffin of a hurting company (like all boat builders at this point in time). If so there are many very talented and dedicated workers that will pay the price for these idiots.

  21. Cap'n Jack

    Many of you are missing the point.  The reason that these lawsuits are filed and accepted by the courts is because everyday citizens of this country award substantial jury verdicts in favor of the claimants!  Remember THAT the next time you try to get out of jury duty!  Now, I’m not saying that this particular claim has merit but it is the responsibility of jurors to do what is right.  Maybe once that happens consistently, we’ll see a decline in frivolous lawsuits.

  22. Dan

    According to this lawsuit, bowriders should not be manufactured by anyone if the manufacturer is at fault for someone sitting up front obstructing the view of the boat operator.  Evidently the boat operator was not experienced enough to instruct the person(s) in the front of him or her to move so they could see. It is always the responsibility of the boat operator to not run into something else in the water even a buoy and to do that, you must maintain a clear view of the water or else stop the boat!!!  How can the manufacturer be sued?

  23. SB

    If this isn’t thrown out of court I’m moving to a different country.  Either that or I’m going to drive my truck backwards on the WRONG side of the highway and ram into someone… Then I will sue Ford for not designing there vehicle to have a clear view while driving backwards.. WTF

  24. The Bear

    I live in Jax and have watched the outcome of this tragedy unfold. There was an original statement made by one of the lawyers that “Florida and the US Coast Guard critisize bow riding as unsafe”.  Can anyone find a reference from those groups to collaberate?
    If I was a boat builder, I would immedialty remove any picture of people sitting in the bow of a boat at speed, on my internet site or in my company brochure.  Lawsuits are like roaches: the first one means more are sure to follow.  If you show someone sitting in the front of a boat at 40 or 50mph, os it safe?  Use some common sense here, industry (don’t get me wrong, I have been in the boating uindustry for almost 30 years) But showing unsafe behavior in your literature is a recipe for a lawsuit..
    From the Florida Times Union:
    A lawyer for three survivors of a fatal Easter boat crash in Palm Valley has sued the vessel’s manufacturer, saying its bow-rider design is inherently unsafe.
    Francis and Joshua Moore and Jamie Hole, all of California, were seriously injured when the Crownline 225BR they were passengers on struck a tugboat moored in the Intracoastal Waterway, according to the product liability lawsuit filed Friday in federal court in Jacksonville.
    Five people died and nine more were injured in the crash north of the Palm Valley bridge.
    Attorney Rod Sullivan, who represented the Moores, Hole and two other injured passengers, said Crownline promotes the 225BR as capable of safely transporting 12 people, but that means five people have to sit in the bow well forward of the boat’s windscreen. He said several states, including Florida, along with the U.S. Coast Guard criticize bow-riding as unsafe.
    “It’s just not safe to ride forward of the windscreen on a boat traveling 30 to 35 mph,” Sullivan said. “It blocks the driver’s view and subjects those riding in the bow to being ejected.”
    Francis Moore and Hole were thrown from the boat and into the side of the tug, the lawsuit says. Joshua Moore was launched into the windscreen. He was released from the hospital Saturday, and Sullivan said Hole is scheduled to be released today. Francis Moore remains hospitalized with head injuries, Sullivan said.
    Though there were 14 passengers, Sullivan said that didn’t contribute to the accident. He said witnesses told him the boat driver’s view was obstructed by people on the bow. The woman driving the boat was chosen for that role because she was sober, Sullivan said.
    Sullivan didn’t rule out further litigation involving other causes of action.
    “This cause of action appeared clear,” Sullivan said. He represents two other survivors; the rest are represented by different lawyers.
    The lawsuit seeks more than $75,000 in damages.

  25. CaptainR

    Give me a break!!!  I would like to file a lawsuit against the owner of the boat and everyone on board.  It is obvious they did not read the owners manual ( if they can read at all), did not follow proper safety precautions and put my life in danger on the water by doing so.  I’d like to file a lawsuit against any judge, jury or attorney who would even accept this into or allow to go to court for not having any intelligence.  If it is accepted it should be given the highest award for stupidity.  When will these kind of lawsuits end and let the judicial system do something more meaningful.  I give up to, time to leave the country to find more intelligent life if that’s possible.  I’ve considered giving up my Captains license can anyone guess why????? 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive. For more information, please see our Comments Policy.

Vote Today

What's most important to you when it comes to the federal budget?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Login to Trade Only Today

Lost Password