Countersuit filed by Seacor denying liability and trying to limit families to splitting $5.6M

Louisiana Network

PORT FOURCHON, La (KLFY) — The parent company of Seacor Marine LLC and Seacor Liftboats LLC has filed a civil action to safeguard against losses from the Seacor Power disaster.

In the exoneration and limitation of liability complaint, Falcon Global Offshore II LLC claims the “incident was not due to any fault, neglect or want of care.” They allege the Seacor Power “was overcome by forces of nature” that they “could not have reasonably anticipated” making them not responsible for any loss, damage, injury, or deaths caused.

The Delaware-based company said a weather report received by the captain the morning of April 13 forecast winds and seas well within the Seacor Power’s safe operating limits and his decision to depart was “reasonable and prudent.”

The company is also attempting to limit how much eleven current lawsuits and any future lawsuits can claim to the value of the vessel and its cargo, which a Letter of Undertaking claims is $5,678,420.00. The suing families would have to split that money if the company gets their request.

The total value was accessed by adding the total hire or pending freight of the vessel with the scrap value of the Seacor Power and the death and personal injury claims fund of $420 per gross registered ton.

“All claimants shall be made to share pro rata in the aforesaid sum” the countersuit says.

Frank Spagnoletti, a lawyer representing multiple victims’ families, warned his clients this was coming because it’s a defense boat owners have used for centuries. He says it extends the process and pressures families to settle.

“It’s not likely that they are going to be able to exonerate themselves from liability, it’s not likely that they are going be able to limit their liability because you can bust that limitation amount and get out of that exoneration,” Spagnoletti explained.

He added if it can be proved that Seacor knew they were sending men into dangerous weather or in a dangerous vessel, their exoneration and limit of liability would fall through.

To download and read the entire lawsuit, click below:

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