Skip to main content

Court rules New York is not liable in capsizing

New York's top court rejected damages claims against state inspectors who continually recertified a tour boat for a 48-passenger capacity before it overturned on an Adirondack lake in 2005, drowning 20 people on a fall foliage tour.

The Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that the state generally isn't liable for "the negligent performance" of government functions unless it has some "special duty" to those hurt, according to the Associated Press.

Federal investigators said after the accident that the 40-foot Ethan Allen should have been limited to 14 passengers. The boat tipped over in clear, sunny weather, sending 47 tourists and the captain into Lake George. The National Transportation Safety Board concluded that "insufficient stability," partly from the passenger load, was the probable cause of the accident.

"Although the law is clear, the upshot is that, regardless of any negligence on the part of the state, the victims of this disastrous wreck are essentially left without adequate remedy," Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman wrote for the unanimous court, according to the AP. "The legislature currently has a proposal before it to require public vessels to carry marine protection and indemnity insurance. We note that such a requirement — had it existed — might have been able to provide a modicum of relief here."

The six judges noted that the legislature, even in amending state navigation law after the disaster to impose more safety standards, didn't establish a private right to sue the government.

They reversed a midlevel court and upheld the state's assertion of sovereign immunity in carrying out these governmental functions.

Click here for the full report.

Related

1_LIMESTONE

Limestone Secures Financing for Expansion

The company said the $6 million in credit will be used to improve its Tennessee manufacturing facility and buy new equipment.

1_MCKENZIE

Mastry Marine Names Repower Center

St. Augustine, Fla.-based McKenzie Marine is the engine distributor’s latest designated Suzuki Repower Center.

1_VANDERBILT

Vanderbilt Ships First Pontoon

The company said the 700T Series was the first model shipped from its new Fort Wayne, Ind., factory and was delivered to The Marina in Angola, Ind.

1_CHIPS.ACT

NMMA Celebrates CHIPS Act

The legislation aims to return semiconductor manufacturing to the U.S. and allows businesses to deduct R&D costs in the same year they are incurred.

1_COX

Cox Marine Hires Sales and Support Staff

The diesel outboard builder this week brought aboard a new regional sales director, regional sales manager and an aftersales manager.

1_DEALEROUTLOOK

Boating Interests Lose Wind Farm Battle

The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that a proposed wind farm off the Cleveland, Oh., waterfront meets planning requirements.

1_INFLATION.JULY

July Inflation Data Lags June

Consumer Price Index results may indicate that inflation has peaked, and Producer Price Index data was below market expectations.

1_YAMAHA

Yamaha Posts Higher Sales, Profit

The company’s first half 2022 net sales increased to $1.93 billion, and segment income rose to $330 million.