FORT LAUDERDALE – A Florida water taxi company hopes to escape liability after a passenger was injured during a trip based on a May 30 opinion in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida Miami Division.
Water Taxi Shuttle LLC and Water Taxi of Ft. Lauderdale LLC filed an exoneration from or limitation of liability. The companies operate a 26-passenger vessel that respondent Diane Harton was on when she was reportedly twisted her ankle. Before the incident, Harton bought a ticket for a ride on the taxi tour in Fort Lauderdale. The petitioners stated Harton’s purchase of the ticket was also an agreement that she would not find the company responsible for any injuries.
Still, she filed a lawsuit against Water Taxi of Ft. Lauderdale LLC in the Circuit Court of the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit in and for Broward County. The petitioners responded with the current request for exoneration from blame less than six months after the filing.
They pointed out they were not to blame for the incident as it wasn’t caused by negligence or any related accusations on their part. They stated it if they were found responsible “and the amount of petitioners’ interest in the vessel is not sufficient to pay all losses in full, then claimants shall share pro rata in the aforesaid sum…,” according to the document. The petitioners added if the court decided there was negligence involved, they were not aware of it amid Harton’s incident.
They asked the court for approval of the letter, “directing issuance of ... of all persons claiming damages” for injuries sustained on the same date as Harton’s incident, and an injunction that would block prosecution of any related lawsuits, based on the document.
They also asked the court for a declaration that states the petitioners aren’t liable, and they if they are, then the amount be less than the value of the water taxi in question.