Waterway Black P.A. recently obtained a dismissal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida on behalf of our client, an individual and principal of an underwater archeology company. The individual was sued for three counts breach of contract and fraud in admiralty for alleged wrongdoings relating to a salvage operation for treasure from a shipwreck in the waters of the Dominican Republic. The District Court agreed with Waterway Black’s argument that the individual was not an alter ego of the corporation, and therefore the three breach of contract claims must be dismissed.
The court also agreed that the fraud claim was inappropriately pled and dismissed on these grounds. Notably, however, the court agreed with Waterway Black’s analysis that the maritime economic loss rule is applicable to fraud claims. While the court chose not to apply the maritime economic loss rule to this particular set of facts, the opinion solidified an otherwise somewhat grey area of law regarding whether the maritime economic loss rule applies to intentional torts such as fraud. The full opinion is available on WestLaw at R/V Beacon, LLC v. Underwater Archeology & Exploration Corp., 2014 WL 4930645 (S.D. Florida October 1, 2014).
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