Marine Law Symposium 2022 Agenda


2:00-3:00pm Forensic Investigation of an Accident

This investigation involved the decapitation of a passenger in a bass boat when the boat struck a downed power conductor from a transmission tower. As the investigation progressed it became apparent that questions revolved around what the operator could see prior to the collision and the navigation rules that applied. It was decided that an animation would be best to explain this to the triers of fact. -Would the animation survive a Daubert Challenge? -What navigation rules would the animation confirm were applicable? Join us for this discussion to find out. Speaker: Greg Davis, Davis Marine Consulting Associates

10:05-11:05am Case Study: The Garcia Case

The USCG performs law enforcement patrols in the Brownsville Ship Channel, operating out of the USCG Station, South Padre Island, Texas. Late in the evening, under the cover of darkness, a human smuggler and an illegal immigrant entered the Brownsville Ship Channel and attempted to cross the channel. While in the channel, the immigrant was struck by a USCG law enforcement patrol craft and suffered fatal injuries. Issues in the subsequent investigation concerned visibility from the patrol craft, speed, navigation lights and the lack of propeller guards. The presentation will cover these issues using documents discovered during the investigation and historical propeller guard testing and analysis.

Speakers: Bill Daley, CED Technologies

11:05am-12:05pm Perspective: A Look Back on Cases Involving Evidence, Investigation, Expert Testimony

This presentation will guide the attendees through several different cases exploring the impacts of critical evidence, investigation, and expert testimony. The attendees will gain knowledge of the do’s and don’ts in marine litigation and be given examples of landmark industry cases. Attendees can also expect to learn about how record keeping impacts evidence in cases and strategies to use records and information in defense of cases. The presentation will likewise function on the strength of investigation and tips to ensure the expert has the best chance of protecting his or her opinions in legal cases. Speaker: Christina Paul, K&L Gates

12:05-1:00pm LUNCH

Network with Law Symposium participants over a plated lunch, dessert, and coffee.

8:45-9:45am Case Study: Warren Case

In this discussion, we will cover the forensic investigation and litigation associated with a sterndrive explosion/fire leaving the claimant with extensive burns and cervical fractures. The accident lead to an inquiry into the boat’s prior owners and history, resulting in a claim against the dealer, and the boat and engine manufacturer. Our presenters will showcase how ABYC standards were used as a “sword and shield” and where the case involved teaching other investigators and insurers how and why the incident occurred. Speakers: Stephen Ellenbecker, Johnson & Bell; Peter Chisholm, Mercury Marine

3:20-4:20pm Pena vs Tracker Marine

This is a case study that demonstrates how essential it is to carefully analyze the evidence before reaching a conclusion.

The subject incident occurred when the driver of the boat unexpectedly and suddenly lost control of the boat, which then spun and resulted in his ejection and impact with the propeller, causing devastating injuries. Plaintiff presented a theory of cause and ultimate liability, which at first glance seemed logical. The defense was challenged with either accepting the theory outright or subject the facts and evidence collected to critical scientific analysis. First, the cause of the ejection was studied in detail because the boat’s hydraulic steering system was found to be compromised after the incident. Then, the impact of the engine stop lanyard on a first pass strike was studied. The scene video was analyzed, an exemplar boat was extensively tested, laboratory testing was conducted, and the intimate details of the body injuries evaluated, all taken together to carefully reconstruct the likely series of events that led to the accident and how same could have been avoided. The results were unexpected.

Speakers: Raul Chacon, MG+M; Robert Taylor, Design Research Engineering (DRE)

1:00-2:00pm Damage, Injury and Death: Are You Covered?

This presentation will focus on common liability risk
situations, a discussion of risk prevention steps, and
the insurance coverages that are available to protect against those risks.
Speakers: Jeffrey Smith, Honigman Business Law Firm; Pat Duggan, Merrimac Marine Insurance

4:20-5:00pm Q&A Roundtable

Join moderator John Adey in a discussion of the symposium topics during a Q&A session with our distinguished speaker panel.

8:30am Introduction

Join ABYC President John Adey for a quick introduction and overview of the day.

Wednesday, April 6

Tuesday, April 5 (evening prior to the Symposium)

6:00-7:30pm Cocktail Reception​ Join ABYC staff and industry colleagues for a casual cocktail reception at the Crowne Plaza Providence!

9:45-10:05am BREAK

Coffee Break

3:00-3:20pm BREAK

Coffee Break

7:45am-8:30am  Registration and Breakfast