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In re Cangiano

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

March 21, 2019

IN THE MATTER OF LUIGI CANGIANO, as Owner of the 1994 23-foot WELLCRAFT ECLIPSE #236, M/V "MARGARITAVILLE" Hull No. WELEGA76L394, REGISTRATION CT4425BD, her tenders, gear, furniture, tackle, appurtenances, etc., Petitioner.

          ORDER APPROVING SECURITY, DIRECTING ISSUE OF NOTICE, RESTRAINING SUITS AND DIRECTING THE FILING OF CLAIMS

          CHARLES S. HAIGHT, JR. SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         A Complaint was filed in this action on February 5, 2019, by petitioner Luigi Cangiano (also "Petitioner" or "Owner"), as the owner or pro hac vice owner of the 1994 23-foot Wellcraft Eclipse #236 express cruiser powerboat M/V "MARGARITAVILLE", Hull No. WELEGA76L394, Registration No. CT4425BD (the "Vessel"). In that Complaint, the Petitioner asserts entitlement to the protections of exoneration and/or limitation of liability pursuant to 46 U.S.C. § 30501, et. seq. and Rule F of the Supplemental Rules for Admiralty or Maritime Claims and Asset Forfeiture Actions of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure ("Supplemental Rules").[1] In particular, he requests exoneration from and/or limitation of liability for any claims of damage or injury arising from the Vessel's voyage from the West Haven Yacht Club in West Haven, Connecticut, to New Haven Harbor and back on September 17, 2018. Doc. 1, ¶ 3.

         Cangiano explains that on that date, the three passengers aboard the Vessel - namely, Diane Mathews, Cindy Vincent, and Donald Foy - allegedly sustained personal injuries when the Vessel made contact with a bridge abutment and/or piling (herein "the Incident"). Id., ¶¶ 4-5. During the Incident, the Vessel's engine transmission was either not engaged and/or the Vessel was drifting with the current and not making way. Id., ¶ 5. According to the Owner, the Vessel sustained only minor damage. Id.

         Leann Riether, Esq., counsel for the three named passengers, provided a written notice of their claim to the Owner on October 30, 2018, in which she stated:

Please be advised that this office represents the above named individuals who are making a claim for severe personal injuries as a result of a boating accident which occurred on September 17, 2018 whereby your [ ] boat struck a piling near the Water Street Bridge, New Haven, Connecticut.

Id., ¶ 6. This notice did not include an amount for the claim. However, the Owner states that he believes that the "claimed injuries are not serious." Id. "Reportedly, Mr. Foy received stiches [sic] for a hand laceration, Ms. Vincent suffered bumps and bruising to her head and face, and Ms. Mathews received no medical treatment following the Incident." Id.

         The Owner disavows that any losses, damages, or injuries from said Incident were "caused or contributed to by any fault, neglect, design or want of due care or due diligence." Id., ¶ 8. He further states that he used due diligence to make the Vessel seaworthy for the September 17, 2018, voyage, "and at all relevant times the vessel was tight, staunch, strong, fully manned, properly equipped and supplied, and in all respects seaworthy and fit." Id., ¶ 7.

         "Alternatively, and without admitting liability" for damages arising from the Incident, the Owner now requests the "benefits of the limitation of liability provided in 46 U.S.C. § 30501, et seq." Id., ¶ 9. He anticipates that the claims asserted against him will exceed his interest in the Vessel on the date of the Incident, which, as set forth below, he has stated via his counsel's attached "Affidavit of Value" [Doc. 1, Ex. 1] did not exceed Six Thousand One Hundred Fifteen Dollars ($6, 115).[2] Petitioner has thus requested leave to file with the Court an Ad Interim Security for Value in the amount of $6, 115, the asserted value of Petitioner's interest in said Vessel, plus interest at the rate of 6% per annum from the present date, plus costs in the amount of $250, as security for the benefit of claims.[3]

         Upon the Petitioner's present motion for exoneration and/or limitation of liability for any and all losses, damages, injuries, or destruction occasioned by the Incident, which occurred on September 17, 2018, the Court hereby ORDERS:

         1. Petitioner is granted leave to file his proposed "Ad Interim Security for Value" [Doc. 1-2] for the benefit of claims in the sum of $6, 115, plus interest at the rate of 6% per annum from the date hereof, plus costs in the amount of $250, without prejudice to any interested party's right to seek a modification as provided by Supplemental Rule F(7). See Fed. R. Civ. P. SUPP. AMC Rule F(7).

         2. Petitioner and any claimant who may properly become a party to this action may contest the amount of value of Petitioner's interest in the Vessel as contained in the Complaint, together with adequate security, as the Court may from time to time order.

         3. Petitioner's election to post security in the form of an Ad Interim Security for Value is done without prejudice to his right to seek modification of the form and quantum of the security, including by substitution of an approved Interim Stipulation for Value.

         4. If the amount and form of security is not contested by any claimant herein, said security will stand and an appraisal by a Commissioner will not be required.

         5. Upon entry of this Order, the Clerk of the Court shall issue forthwith the attached "Notice of Petition for Exoneration from or Limitation of Liability" (herein "Notice") to all persons asserting claims with respect to which the Complaint seeks exoneration from or limitation of liability, admonishing them to file their respective claims with the Clerk of the Court, in writing, and to serve a copy of said claims on Petitioner's attorney on or before M ...


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