Dolphin Swimming and Boating Club requests court to exonerate or limit liability in injury case

By Elizabeth Alt | May 3, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO — The Dolphin Swimming and Boating Club in San Francisco has filed a request for a court to exonerate it from liability after a man claimed he sustained injuries when one of its boats ran into his leg while he was swimming.


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SAN FRANCISCO — The Dolphin Swimming and Boating Club in San Francisco has filed a request for a court to exonerate it from liability after a man claimed he sustained injuries when one of its boats ran into his leg while he was swimming.

The motion filed April 23 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District Court for California requests that Dolphin Swimming and Boating Club, a nonprofit organization established in the 1800s, be exonerated or have its liability in the accident limited according to maritime law and Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

In August, a Dolphin boat was operating in the San Francisco Bay when it struck a man swimming laps, according to information in the motion. The man swimming, Robert Guy Peluso, sustained injuries to his leg when the boat hit him. Peluso sued Dolphin Club for damages in the San Francisco Superior Court, and Dolphin wants the order because the group “believes that claims will be made in this action by persons or entities claiming to have sustained injuries or damages as a result of the subject incident.”

Dolphin Club claims the accident was not their fault, and that the boat was properly maintained and seaworthy at the time of the accident. “Mr. Peluso was himself negligent in and about the matters alleged in any related claims or actions, and that said negligence contributed directly and proximately to the happening of the subject accident and damages, if any, that may be alleged.”

"The cause or causes of the aforesaid injury occurred without the privity or knowledge of the Plaintiff,"  Dolphin claims, and it alleges it has “valid, absolute defense to any and all alleged liability arising out the above-described incident, on facts and under maritime and admiralty law. “

Dolphin claims that the boat is worth $40,000 or less, which is “less than the amounts of the claim(s) that the Plaintiff anticipates arising from this occurrence.” Dolphin Club has requested to be completely exonerated, or alternatively for the court to rule that the plaintiff has limited liability “to the amount of the value of the interest of the Plaintiff in the Vessel at the end of the voyage on August 17, 2017.”

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