United States District Court, D. Arizona
In Admiralty COMPLAINT OF Julio SALAS and Monica Salas as owners of the vessel "AZ 5368 BG" and her engines, tackle, appurtenances, etc., Plaintiffs-in-Limitation, for Exoneration from or Limitation of Liability.
Terence S. Cox, Pro Hac Vice, Cox Wootton Lerner Griffin
& Hansen LLP,
San Francisco, CA, Thomas M. Fedeli, Pro Hac Vice, Cox
Wootton Lerner Griffin & Hansen LLP, Los Angeles, CA, for
John J. Tuchi, United States District Judge.
issue is Claimants Brandi Hart and Nathan Preuit's Motion
to Dismiss Plaintiffs-In-Limitation's Complaint for
Exoneration from or Limitation of Liability (Doc. 14, Mot.),
which Claimant Wayne Ramos joined (Doc. 15).
Plaintiffs-In-Limitation ("Plaintiffs") Monica
Salas and Julio Salas filed a Response (Doc. 21, Resp.).
August 6, 2017, Plaintiffs loaned their 24-foot fiberglass
"Carrera" motorboat ("the Vessel") to
their daughter, Nicole Salas Jahnke. (Doc. 1, Compl. ¶
4). Jahnke and five friends, including Claimants Hart and
Preuit, used the Vessel on Lake Havasu for a day of
recreation. (Compl. ¶ 5.) Claimants contend that, at all
relevant periods of the outing, Jahnke was driving the
Vessel. (Mot. at 2-3.)
the group's return to the marina around 9:23 p.m.,
another speedboat approached —a 27-foot Eliminator
Daytona watercraft ("Eliminator") owned by Claimant
Karen Rea and her husband Henry Rea. (Compl. ¶ 5; Doc.
18, Answ. ¶ 5.) The Eliminator was operated by Henry
Rea. (Compl. ¶ 5; Answ. ¶ 5.) Plaintiffs allege the
Eliminator was traveling at around 50 miles per hour and was
unlighted. (Compl. ¶ 5.) Plaintiffs also allege that
Jahnke attempted evasive action but was unable to avoid a
collision. (Compl. ¶ 5.) Hart and Preuit agree that
Jahnke did in fact attempt evasive action, but only after
Preuit shouted at her to warn her of the oncoming Eliminator.
(Mot. at 3.) Hart and Preuit also allege that Jahnke had
consumed alcohol at some point during the outing. (Mot. at
2.) The Eliminator and the Vessel collided, ejecting and
seriously injuring several passengers, including Hart and
Preuit. (Compl. ¶ 5, Mot. at 3.) Henry Rea was killed,
and the Eliminator sank. (Compl. ¶ 5.) All of the
passengers boarded the Vessel and Jahnke operated it back to
the marina, where emergency personnel were waiting. (Compl.
filed their Complaint for Exoneration from or Limitation of
Liability on February 6, 2018. (Compl.) As owners of the
Vessel, they seek to either exonerate or limit their
liability under 46 U.S.C. § 30511 ("Limitation
Act"). They allege that "the net value of the
Vessel at the end of the voyage on August 6, 2017 did not
exceed [$2,500]." (Compl. ¶ 14.) As required by the
statute, some claimants notified Plaintiffs that they would
commence actions against them, and Plaintiffs allege those
suits will seek more than $2,500. (Compl. ¶ 21.)
Plaintiffs seek to exonerate their liability, or failing
that, limit it to $2,500. Hart and Preuit now move to dismiss
Plaintiffs' Complaint. (Mot.)
motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction
under Rule 12(b)(1) may attack either the allegations of the
complaint as insufficient to confer upon the court subject
matter jurisdiction, or the existence of subject matter
jurisdiction in fact." Renteria v. United
States, 452 F.Supp.2d 910, 919 (D. Ariz. 2006) (citing
Thornhill Publ'g Co. v. Gen. Tel. & Elecs.
594 F.2d 730, 733 (9th Cir. 1979)). The burden of proof is on
the party asserting jurisdiction to show that the court has
subject matter jurisdiction. See Indus. Tectonics, Inc.
v. Aero ...