Schulman v. Institute for Shipboard Education propeller case settled
The case focused on the December 2012 death of Casey Schulman, a University of Virginia student, on a Semester at Sea Program. She was struck and killed by the propeller of a shore excursion catamaran in Dominica (the Caribbean). We covered the accident as Casey Schulman Killed by Propeller in Dominica and the resulting case at Schulman v. Semester at Sea.
Judge Kathleen M. Williams issued an Order of Dismissal with Prejudice in U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida on 18 February 2014.
The portion of the case against Fountaine Pajot, the French builder of the catamaran, remains ongoing. Fountaine Pajot is claiming the court has no jurisdiction over them. Attorneys for Schulman are trying to prove otherwise.
According to records on PACER, Schulman’s attorneys are requesting records from the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) regarding Fountaine Pajot’s booth at NMMA’s annual Miami International Boat show over the last several years, and from a Florida boat broker, Florida Yacht Group (FYG), that serves as a Fountaine Pajot dealer. Fountaine notes FYG and others selling new Fountaine Pajot vessels in the U.S. are “independent dealers” that sell other boat lines as well, and none of them act as “agents” for Fountaine Pajot. Fountaine also points out the delivery of, payment for, and transfer of title of the new vessels takes place in France.
We have seen similar claims from others trying to avoid U.S. jurisdiction in the past. Sometimes those claims unravel when attorneys find evidence contrary to statements made by the defendant.