Man disputes ruling that his faulty repairs led to sinking that killed his mother

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Nathan Carman (left) and his mother Linda Carman (right) on a fishing trip. Photo courtesy of law offices of Hubert J. Santos via Hartford Courant.

Nathan Carman (left) and his mother Linda Carman (right) on a fishing trip. Photo courtesy of law offices of Hubert J. Santos via Hartford Courant.

A Vermont man who has been at the center of a family controversy involving accusations of murder and fraud is disputing a judge’s recent ruling that his faulty repairs led his boat to sink, absolving insurers from paying out an $85,000 claim.

Nathan Carman is requesting a new trial and is asking a Rhode Island U.S. District Court judge to reconsider his decision that improper repairs made to his 31-foot fishing boat, Chicken Pox, caused it to sink in 2016, leaving his mother dead, according to the Providence Journal.

Carman had filed a claim with BoatUS and the National Liability & Fire Insurance Co., which the insurers denied; instead they brought a federal lawsuit to show Carman had removed trim tabs from the boat and left holes unfilled, causing it to sink.

“The removal of the trim tabs and the faulty repairs rendered the boat unseaworthy and in poor condition,” wrote the judge in his November decision. “Having four holes in the back of the boat lends itself to taking water on. It is more likely than not that this improper repair at least indirectly caused water to fill up the bilge, causing the boat to sink.”

In papers filed Monday afternoon, Carman argued that the judge should instead find that insurers failed to establish exclusion terms around the “all-risk” policy he took on the boat.

Carman said he was adrift for seven days after his boat sank while fishing for tuna with his mother, Linda Carman, aboard. She was never found.

The judge had made clear when the trial began in August that he would only hear arguments regarding the insurance portion of the case, not the disappearance of Carman’s mother or the murder of his millionaire grandfather, John Chakalos, in 2013, in which police say Carman remains a person of interest.

Carman’s three aunts have accused him of sinking the boat to kill his mother, as well as the murder of their father John Chakalos three years earlier, in a scheme to inherit $7 million from the Chakalos estate.

The battle over the Chakalos estate is still dragging in court, though it seems to be heading from New Hampshire to Connecticut, where Chakalos died nearly six years ago, according to the Hartford Courant.

The sisters initially filed on behalf of the Chakalos estate in New Hampshire probate court, arguing that he was a resident of West Chesterfield, N.H., even though he spent most of his time in the Windsor, Conn., home where he was found murdered on Dec. 20, 2013. A judge threw out that case, saying it lacked proper jurisdiction because Chakalos was shot in his Windsor home.

His murder remains unsolved.

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