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Sunday, June 16, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Lost Sailors’ Relatives Lose Bid for New Trial

(CN) - Filipino relatives of sailors lost in the North Atlantic aren't entitled to a new trial, the Louisiana Court of Appeals ruled, because they failed to appear in New Orleans for depositions.

On Jan. 1, 1994, the M/V Marika disappeared in a winter storm while sailing from Canada to the Netherlands. The boat and the crew were never found.

The relatives of the crew sued Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which built the ship, and the surveyors who said it was seaworthy.

Litigation was delayed over the years by the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001; Hurricane Katrina; Typhoon Durian in the Philippines; and the Filipino plaintiffs' delay in obtaining visas to travel to New Orleans for depositions.

The trial court dismissed the Filipino plaintiffs from the case in 2007. They asked for a new trial, but the trial court denied the request. The state appeals court affirmed.

"The Filipino plaintiffs violated orders to appear in New Orleans for depositions multiple times...The trial court properly dismissed the claims because its orders were flouted, defied and ignored for eight years," Judge Daniel Gorbaty wrote.

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