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$950k Wrongful Death Settlement for Small Boat Accident

The Daily Business Review reports today on the case of Smith v. RomeuCase no: 50-2011CA006736XXXXMB before Palm Beach Circuit Judge Lucy Chernow Brown, wherein the parties settled the case of a wrongful death on the eve of trial for $948,000.00.

The facts of the case are as follows: Romeu met Smith and his sister on the night of May 8, 2010 Beach. Romeu had recently bought a 34-foot speedboat and invited the Smiths aboard for a ride. Romeu gunned the boat and accidentally struck a navigational marker in the Intracoastal Waterway. At the last moment, Romeu made a sharp turn in a failed attempt to avoid the marker. The lurch of the boat threw Smith from the boat, impaling him through the torso on the marker and sinking him to the bottom. A fire and rescue diver retrieved the body about an hour later.

Smith's father filed the civil lawsuit on behalf of his son's estate, with himself and his wife as the estate's claimants. The son was 31 when he died and left no children.

The defendant did not concede liability. It also does not appear that the vessel owner filed limitation of liability proceedings. The case was set for jury trial beginning the week of June 7, though Romeu's attorneys repeatedly tried to get continuances of the trial date. The parties announced a settlement on June 1st.

Two insurance companies — Universal Property & Casualty Insurance Co. and SkiSafe — agreed to pay a combined total of $853,000. In addition, Romeu gave Smith's parents the boat, a 2000 Donzi, and a promissory note for a combined value of about $95,000.

If you are interested in receiving a complete e-copy of the DBR article, please feel free to contact me through this blog or at


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