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The Collaborative Clearinghouse for Lawsuits and Other Claims Against ACE Group Insurance Companies

Boat Sinks, ACE American Sues

October 10th, 2012 - ACE American Insurance Co has sued a New York boat service company after paying a claim of a client whose boat sank within hours of being launched for the season.

The ACE Group unit claimed Bill’s Boatworks, of Lackawanna, N.Y., was in breach of contract and breach of bailment in its duty to boat owner David Harris. He was not named as a plaintiff, but instead the suit was filed by his insurer, ACE American, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York. It was filed as an admiralty and maritime claim under the federal rules of civil procedure.

Harris, of East Aurora, N.Y., owned a 1984-model Chris Craft Catalina Express 281 model motorboat that he operated on Lake Erie. At some point prior to June 3, 2010, he allegedly contracted Bill’s Boatworks to haul the 29-foot craft from the water and store it on land for the winter at the firm’s storage yard in Lackawanna.

ACE American said that Harris delivered the boat in good order to Bill’s. On June 3, 2010, Bill’s launched the boat, but within five hours of that event it was discovered that it had sunk.

ACE American did not specifically state in its suit a reason for the sinking. But it did accuse Bills’ and owner Bill Henneberry of breach of duty and negligence for failing to properly inspect the boat and its pumps subsequent to the launch of the boat.

ACE American said that Bill’s had a duty to Harris to store, bail and care for and protect the boat and then deliver it in the same condition in which it was received.

As a result of that alleged negligence, ACE American asked the court to award it $20,637 in damages.

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