Nationwide Recoveries

Stutman Law Prevails in Federal Declaratory Action Following Boat Accident

While tied to a dock at a marina, the insured’s houseboat was struck by a speedboat driven by an intoxicated college student, causing substantial property damages and devastating personal injuries. Based on these facts, liability seemed clear. However, the owner of the speedboat filed a declaratory judgment action in federal court, arguing that, under federal maritime law, our claim for property damages to the houseboat was limited to the value of the speedboat after the accident. After the crash, the speedboat had only nominal salvage value. Stutman Law opposed the declaratory judgment action on the basis that the accident occurred in a land-locked lake, thus federal maritime law did not apply. The district court judge ruled in our favor, and the case settled shortly thereafter.