PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 6, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Robert J. Mongeluzzi, the noted maritime trial lawyer who has represented dozens of victims in duck-boat disasters and other maritime accidents, called yesterday's legal maneuver by the owners of the fire-ravaged California dive boat, The Conception, "a cruel and heartless ploy and an insult to the dead and their grieving families." Regarding the owner's court filing to limit the value of all victims' recovery to the value of the destroyed vessel, he added, "The horrifying truth is that the last of the 34 bodies wasn't even recovered when the lawyers for Truth Aquatics, the owners, filed in an attempt to shield their clients from being held accountable."
Mr. Mongeluzzi, whose firm, Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett & Bendesky, P.C., currently represents numerous victims of last year's Branson, Missouri duck-boat disaster that resulted in 17 deaths, said the limitation of liability act, enacted in part to protect ship owners from pirates, is now subject to abuse and should be repealed.
SMBB partner, Jeffrey P. Goodman, added, "The law allows the owner six months to file this action. There was no legal reason to file it before the bodies were recovered. Instead of respecting the grieving process, Truth Aquatics raced to the court house so they could start the clock on the victims and force them to immediately file lawsuits or risk their claims being forever barred. This filing is an act of pure depravity."
After the Missouri duck-boat owner filed for legal protection under the 1851 law, Mr. Mongeluzzi labeled the action an "inhuman legal ploy that would will sink as fast as their death-trap duck boat."
Andrew R. Duffy, the SMBB partner, said, "It is unconscionable that a company whose number one responsibility should've been to protect the safety of these divers would think about how to limit their liability before the facts of this tragedy are fully determined. Under admiralty law a defendant cannot limit their liability if the vessel is unseaworthy and that is a major unanswered question in this tragedy."
SOURCE Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett & Bendesky, P.C.